Variety of standard flag bearers to represent their schools at graduation
As is tradition at NAU graduation ceremonies, students will file in ranks into the commencement ceremony and at their head will be the standard bearers, students selected to represent all the schools within their college.
Emily Linck, graduating with a master’s degree in education and special education, was chosen as the standard bearer for the graduate College of Education.
Her hard work is what she believes led to her special position in the graduation ceremony.
“I consider it an honor to be selected as a standard bearer by the dean of the College of Education,” Linck said. “I feel it is a recognition of the perseverance and steadfastness that I demonstrated during my pursuit of my master’s of education. In the two years that I pursued this degree, I did not let the quality of my work slip, and it’s nice to have that effort recognized.”
Nadezhda Ivanova-Pfenning, graduating with a master’s degree in business administration and standard bearer for the graduate college in the Franke College of Business, said staying grounded in the real world while at NAU has served her well.
“I believe that personal development and attitude towards peers, faculty and staff play a very important role in developing strong relationships and networks,” Ivanova-Pfenning said. “Yet, without putting in extra effort in activities outside of the university while still properly managing academic performance, it would be impossible to truly set a high standard. In my opinion, one has to work hard and be continuously challenged to do better, in order for one to be able to improve and grow further as an individual and as a professional.”
Nicole Morrow, chair of the commencement team, said each college has a different method of selecting their standard bearer, but it is an honor to be chosen regardless.
“Each college has their own distinct way of choosing them, but it is an honor to be chosen to be a standard bearer,” Morrow said. “So, it is a specific honor for any student to be chosen to be a standard bearer, but the exact process by which it is done is college-specific.”
The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) polls the faculty and staff for nominees for the position of standard bearer, according to Annette Lawrence, coordinator for SBS.
“At SBS, we do send out notices and ask for nominations and it goes to our staff and chairs and all faculty,” Lawrence said. “Then, we receive the nominations and the dean chooses the standard bearers based on what [the faculty] write.”
Lawrence said while SBS does not hold any requirements to be nominated for a standard bearer position beyond graduating in the spring and intending to be present at the ceremony, students deemed ‘standouts’ are often recommended.
“They could be supportive of the academic department or major; they could have gone through some really hard times and then show success or that this completion is extra-special to them,” Lawrence said. “Sometimes students have just taken a very long time to graduate for whatever circumstance and so they deserve recognition, but there’s not really any criteria.”
Laura Theimer, coordinator for the College of Education, said the approach of her college is similar, but the criteria are different.
“We put out a call for nominations to our faculty and staff and they nominate their students who they feel are outstanding and deserving and have a small committee of faculty of staff who review the nominations and determine who they think is best qualified based on the criteria that we have established . . . a 3.5 GPA and an active involvement in the NAU community,” Theimer said.
Randi Ringnes, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in art history, said being a standard bearer is a final payoff for her hard work.
“This achievement feels like a fitting conclusion to my studies at NAU,” Ringnes said. “I have worked for my department and the college and have worked to be continuously involved with their activities. After four years of working to accomplish my academic goals and grow intellectually, I look forward to this opportunity to finish my undergraduate career with a position as the standard-bearer for the college I have been so involved with.”
Karla Scott, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and standard bearer for the College of Education, said she looks forward most to her family seeing her walk with the banner.
“There are many outstanding students who complete their degrees at NAU branches,” Scott said. “But I think the best part of being selected as standard bearer will be when I walk in front of my two beautiful children, Kaitlyn and Brandon. Kaitlyn, in particular, is of an age where she will understand the significance and perhaps feel inspired to seek and achieve her own honors. That’s the best part of being a standard bearer.”