WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., June 24, 2019 — Commencement is always a special day but for one member of the Class of 2019, it was not only special, it was a complete surprise!
The belated commencement ceremony was held at noon, this past Saturday, June 22, 2019 at the West Liberty University’s Boyle Conference Center as Joshua Ridgeway was honored by his friends with the surprise ceremony.
Ridgeway missed the May 4 commencement due to his military duties and was told to stop at the Boyle Center to assist with a forgotten university duty. He was visibly surprised when he was told on entering the room that he needed to don a cap and gown as the sounds of “Pomp and Circumstance” was streamed.
“We appreciate what you do as a member of our military and we want to be able to show our appreciation collectively,” said Dr. Stephen Greiner, WLU President who assumed the role of both president and commencement speaker for the short festivities.
Ridgeway’s friends and fraternity brothers planned the ceremony and invited President Greiner to be a part of it last spring when they realized that Ridgeway would miss the regular commencement. The president was happy to comply.
“I didn’t hesitate. We were able to agree to a day and a time and it’s a complete surprise, so your friends are to be complimented and thanked for getting this ceremony together. But it was a no-brainer to comply to this request for a student serving in the military,” Greiner said.
Also a member of the Hilltopper wrestling team, Ridgeway was a criminal justice major and earned a degree from the College of Liberal Arts. He also was a member of the Chi Nu fraternity and served as a Resident Assistant in the Office of Housing and Student Life.
Ridgeway is staying with WLU to earn his graduate degree and is now enrolled in the Master of Science in Criminology online program. Now a resident of St. Clairsville, Ohio, his career goal is to work for the Drug Enforcement Administration.
West Liberty University is West Virginia’s oldest institution and today offers more than 70 undergraduate majors, plus a growing number of graduate programs, both online and on campus. For more information, please call 1.866.937.8542 (WESTLIB).
To read more coverage of the event as seen in the Martins Ferry Times Leader, please click here.