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Congratulations, Class of 2011

The newest group of Drake alumni celebrated commencement last month, pausing for post-ceremony photos with the bronze bulldog

Drake welcomed more than 1,400 new members to the alumni network on May 14, following the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree commencement ceremonies held in the Knapp Center.

“Commencement was an unforgettable experience,” says Adam Gallenberg, of Rochester, Minn., who received a bachelor’s of science degree in psychology. “Not only did the event signify the accomplishment of my long-term goal in earning a degree at Drake, but I got to see my fellow classmates celebrating that same success.”

The undergraduate commencement ceremony featured keynote addresses by Drake President David Maxwell and honorary degree recipients John and Mary Pappajohn. Samantha Haas, student body president and recipient of the University’s Oreon E. Scott Award for the most outstanding senior, also gave a commencement address.

John Quinn of Monticello, Iowa, felt the event provided an inspirational send-off for graduates.

“I think that commencement was a great opportunity to celebrate the culmination of our Drake experiences,” says Quinn, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music. “I really enjoyed the many encouraging words delivered by different faculty members and other featured speakers who addressed the graduating class.”

Following the ceremonies, many took part in the tradition of posing alongside (or astride) the bronze bulldog statue in Drake Plaza. (View a gallery of commencement photos on Drake’s Flickr page.)

The Graduate Commencement Ceremony, held later that day, honored 51 degree recipients including Tony Shafer, who suffered a stroke seven years ago while a student in Drake’s pharmacy program. Shafer received a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling at the ceremony.

The Des Moines Register recently profiled Shafer’s inspiring story. In the article, Shafer says that his message to his fellow graduates would be to maintain an optimistic outlook.

“Always be positive about your future,” says Shafer. “You can take as many steps as you need to get to where you want to be.”