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First BME degree recipients headline Fall 2018 commencement

Students line up wearing caps and gowns in front of a wall that says MIZZOU.

A total of 296 undergraduates and 85 graduate students became the next Mizzou Made engineering leaders at MU Engineering’s Fall 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday at the Hearnes Center. Photo by Shelby O’Keefe.

A total of 296 undergraduates and 85 graduate students became the next Mizzou Made engineering leaders at MU Engineering’s Fall 2018 Commencement Ceremony on Friday at the Hearnes Center.

Among those 296 were the first four graduates of Mizzou Engineering’s brand new Biomedical Engineering bachelor’s degree program. Shelby Carpenter, Taylor Ray, William Schulze and Emma Tomes became the first to earn a BME degree from the only public university in Missouri to offer such a recognition.

Prior to this year, students interested in biomedical engineering earned bioengineering degrees with a biomedical emphasis. High demand and promising career possibilities prompted MU Engineering and the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to make BME its own degree program.

“Bioengineering is a diverse field, and I, like most of the students in our program, have focused on its medical applications, so it’s important that our degree reflects this area of expertise,” said Carpenter, a native of Arnold, Mo. “The specific BME degree will ensure employers that I have the necessary experience to be trusted working in the health care industry.”

Ray, a native of Carol Stream, Ill., will use her degree as she begins her career at Missouri Orthopaedic Institute as a research coordinator for the sports medicine department. She said she always identified as a BME major and was thrilled to see that statement become reality.

“I think having a specific BME degree will open more doors and bring a different level of respect in the professional field,” she explained.

Schulze plans to use his as a path to a doctorate and eventually a career in pharmaceutical research and was excited to be among the first MU BME alumni.

“I was elated to have the opportunity to earn this new degree. I am excited to be a trailblazer for this great university,” the Monument, Colo., native said.

Bill Baker, a 1975 graduate of Mizzou Engineering and structural engineering partner at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, LLP, served as the night’s keynote speaker. He discussed the future of the globe and how engineers are uniquely suited to tackle upcoming grand challenges, the importance of collaboration and the past successes of engineers, among several topics.

“With talent comes the obligation to use it. For each of you here in the room, there are many who wanted to be here but were not accepted to the University of Missouri,” he said. “You owe it to those who are here with you, and those who are not, to do your best. You were accepted here, you studied and worked hard, and now you are commencing the next chapter of your life. Honor those around you and do something significant with your education.”

Joining Baker in the lineup of speakers were UM System President Mun Choi, MU Provost Latha Ramchand and MU Engineering Dean and Vice Chancellor for Strategic Partnerships Elizabeth Loboa. Loboa implored the new graduates to dream big and achieve their full potential.

“Your generation could be the one to create new technologies that make automobile fatalities a thing of the past. The one to discover novel methods to unlock big data’s fullest potential. The one to level the educational playing field by using virtual reality to bring a world-class education to all corners of this nation,” she said. “You have achieved so much and built quite an enduring legacy in your time here at Mizzou. Now it is time to shine brightly for all the world to see.”

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