2017 Fall Commencement addressed by Iowa State alumnus

Members of the Iowa State Fall 2017 Graduating class wait to walk into Hilton Coliseum Dec 16. The keynote speaker was Kevin Cooney, a 1974 alumnus of Iowa State whose speech focused on friendship and remembering to make your bed.

Tristan Wade

With an estimated 2,403 undergraduate students, Iowa State’s 2017 fall Commencement took over Hilton Coliseum Saturday. This fall, a total estimated 2,449 students graduated, a record for a fall semester graduation at Iowa State.

Saturday’s ceremony began with an address from Iowa State President Wendy Wintersteen. This was Wintersteen’s first undergraduate commencement as the new president of Iowa State and she said she was very proud of the honor.

“Commencement is the most important and significant ceremony a university holds,” Wintersteen said.

Wintersteen also expressed much pride in the accomplishments of this class of graduates.

The undergraduate ceremony was addressed by Kevin Cooney, a 1974 alumnus of Iowa State who was invited for this opportunity by former interim president Benjamin Allen. Cooney graduated from Iowa State with a journalism degree and went on the work for KCCI in Des Moines, where he worked for over 33 years and earned the honor of the longest serving Des Moines television news anchor before retiring in 2015.

Cooney wanted to focus on two main points in his speech: friendship and transitions.

He noted that as we journey through education, those are some of the biggest transitions of our life, such as elementary school, beginning high school, beginning college and now to graduating college. Cooney said this is a “time of transition” for the graduates.

“My first piece of advice though: don’t worry, it’s going to be just fine,” Cooney said.

Cooney also said one of the biggest transitions in life is meeting and gathering friends and is extremely important.

“Friends are there to help us survive,” Cooney said.

He kept his speech to around 15 minutes long which Cooney said was because he was told that was when people would start leaving to go to the bathroom. The Iowa State alumnus left the graduates with one last thought.

“Grow, keep learning, love, vote, make friends and make your bed,” Cooney said.

Simon Estes, F. Wendell Miller Distinguished Artist in Residence at Iowa State, was the commencement vocalist Saturday. He sang the National Anthem and performed prior to the students each coming to the stage to receive their degrees.

It took around an hour and a half for the students to all be announced. Jeff Johnson, CEO of the Iowa State Alumni Association address the students briefly afterward, welcoming them to the Iowa State alumni family.

“You are all now Cyclones for life,” Johnson said.

The ceremony ended with the group singing the Bells of Iowa State all together and the raining down of quite a bit of confetti.

“I extend my sincerest congratulations to this class and look forward to hearing from you about all of your accomplishments,” Wintersteen said.