(THE PICKET) – Shepherd University’s 143rd commencement ceremony will be taking place on Saturday, May 7, at 1:50 p.m. in the James A. and Evelyn R. Butcher Center. An expected 768 graduates will be receiving their degrees – 705 undergraduates and 63 receiving their master’s degrees.
James A. Leach, a former Republican congressman and the head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, will deliver the address for the 2016 ceremony. Leach is the chair in public affairs, visiting professor, and senior scholar at the University of Iowa College of Law.
Shepherd’s graduates will be entering the best job market the U.S. has seen since the Great Recession, according to the Huffington Post. The number of employers looking to hire new college graduates is the highest the nation has seen in decades, according to a Huffington Post survey.
Although the job market is increasing, male graduates have better odds than female graduates.
According to the Huffington Post, male college graduates ages 20-24 are earning 8 percent more than they did in 2000 and females are making nearly 7 percent less than they did in 2000.
According to the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), companies are expected to recruit 5.2 percent more new college graduates than they did in 2015.
Despite the rising job market, the West Virginia unemployment rate is slowly spiking.
In December 2015, according to the state Department of Numbers, the unemployment rate in West Virginia was at 6.2 percent, or 48,380 people. As of March 2016, the unemployment rate was 6.5 percent, or 51,410 people.
Nationwide, as of March 2016, there are 7,966,000 total unemployed people.
Leach, who earned a B.A. from Princeton University in 1964 and later a M.A. from Johns Hopkins University in 1966, is best known for his 30 years of service as a representative in Congress. Leach chaired the Banking and Financial Services Committee, the subcommittee on Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Congressional-Executive commission on China, according to a press release by Shepherd University.
Following Leach’s time in Congress, Leach was a professor at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and an interim director of the institute of Politics and lecturer at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
According to Shepherd’s website, under Leach’s leadership at the National Endowment for the Humanities, the bridging cultures program was created to promote understanding and respect for diverse groups within the United States.
Leach holds 13 honorary degrees, received decorations from two foreign governments, and received the Wayne Morse Integrity in Politics Award, the Norman Borlaug Public Service Award, and the Woodrow Wilson Medal from Princeton.
Leach, who is traveling to Shepherd University from Iowa, was unavailable for comments.
Commencement 2016 Events Schedule
Friday, May 6:
6 p.m.– Nursing Convocation: Storer Ballroom, Student Center
Saturday, May 7:
9 a.m.– Pinning of the teacher education candidates: Frank Center Theater
11 a.m.– Pinning of the Bachelor of Social Work Candidates: Dining Hall, Lower Level
1:50 p.m.- 143rd Commencement: James A. and Evelyn R. Butcher Center
Post Commencement- Commencement Reception and Class of 2016 zero year Reunion: Wellness Center