Florida Tech Has Conferred More Than 53,000 Degrees

By  //  May 12, 2013

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Chris Sonnenberg Earns doctorate degree summa cum laude – Now Professor at Florida Tech

PROFESSOR SONNENBERG: Chris Sonnenberg, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida Tech, earned the trifecta when he received his doctorate summa cum laude. Last Monday, he again returned to Florida Tech, this time not as a student, but rather as a professor. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

PROFESSOR SONNENBERG: Chris Sonnenberg, center, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida Tech, earned the trifecta when he received his doctorate summa cum laude. Last Monday, he again returned to Florida Tech, this time not as a student, but rather as a professor. With Sonnenberg are Healther and George Brittingham. (Image for SpaceCoastDaily.com)

BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Saturday, May 4, was a very special day for 54-year-old Lucie Muns, one of the 1,131 men and women in Florida Tech’s Class of 2013.

Muns began her college career in 1976 as an ocean engineering student, but left to follow husband Randy to a new job in Texas.

Friends and family traveled thousands of miles to share the joy of a new chapter in the lives of the graduates. (Image courtesy of GradImages.com)

Friends and family traveled thousands of miles to share the joy of a new chapter in the lives of the graduates. (Image courtesy of GradImages.com)

She returned 30 years later to receive her diploma during the commencement ceremonies and has already begun her master’s studies. A grandmother of five, Muns is not only a Florida Tech graduate, but also a Florida Tech mom, thanks to daughter Amanda, also an alum. Joining their mother at commencement was son Matt, who flew to Melbourne from Mozambique, and son John, a Texas Army National Guard sergeant who served in Iraq.

Friends and family traveled thousands of miles to share the joy of a new chapter in the lives of the graduates.

More than 53,000 degrees have been conferred on students at Florida Tech since 1958, when 154 students signed up for the first fall semester.

Rian Mehta’s parents came from Bombay to see their son graduate summa cum laude with a degree in aviation management. Loris Cagnacci’s parents flew from France to see Loris receive a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology. Parents, sister, inlaws, both grandmothers and a cousin traveled from Maracaibo, Venezuela to cheer on Hector Severyn, who earned his master’s degree in the relatively new degree of global strategic communications.

LARGE GRADUATING CLASS

The large graduating class of 486 undergraduate and 645 graduate students required two separate commencement ceremonies—one for the bachelor’s degrees and one for the master’s and doctoral degrees—and represents on-campus, as well as online students and students at 10 extended studies department sites located throughout the United States.

More than 100 of the graduates participating in the commencement ceremony were online students. For many of these individuals, graduation was the first time they had set foot on campus. (Image courtesy of GradImages.com)

More than 100 of the graduates participating in the commencement ceremony were online students. For many of these individuals, graduation was the first time they had set foot on campus. (Image courtesy of GradImages.com)

May 2013 graduates came from 37 states and from 58 countries, from Australia to Vietnam.

More than 100 of the graduates participating in the commencement ceremony were online students. For many of these individuals, graduation was the first time they had set foot on campus.

The school’s College of Aeronautics graduated its first class of online students in the Master’s Degree in Human Factors in Aeronautics program.

The school’s College of Aeronautics graduated its first class of online students in the Master’s Degree in Human Factors in Aeronautics program.

Graudates Michael Gross, Justin Hannaford, Ellen Leahy, Rachel McKinnon and Jordan Rice earned their degrees at home all over the country.

The significant number of graduates from the online school reflects the university’s prominence in the field; Florida Tech’s online school is considered among the country’s top three.

PURSUING THE DREAM

• Chris Sonnenberg, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degree from Florida Tech, earned the trifecta when he received his doctorate summa cum laude. Last Monday, he again returned to Florida Tech, this time not as a student, but rather as a professor.

Anthony James Catanese, president of Florida Institute of Technology, congratulates the 1,131 men and women in Florida Tech’s Class of 2013. (Image courtesy of GradImages.com)

Anthony James Catanese, president of Florida Institute of Technology, congratulates the 1,131 men and women in Florida Tech’s Class of 2013. (Image courtesy of GradImages.com)

• Monika Rolle, who traveled from Jacksonville to receive her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, had studied online while serving in the U.S. Navy and raising a family. She recently finished her military career and was hired right away by a government contracting company.

• Lieutenant Colonel Rich Comitz was released from the Army to earn his PhD in chemistry. Comitz will now head to West Point to return to the teaching faculty. In 2003, he was released from the Army to study at Florida Tech for a master’s in chemistry and then taught at West Point.

• Beverly Watson, an astronomy/astrophysics major, is the first in her family to earn a college degree. She plans to pursue a doctoral program with the goal of becoming a research scientist with NASA.

• Julie Bright told her seven-year-old son she was returning to college, and he said, “Mommy, that’s great. Now we can do our homework together.” As a single mother, Bright attended school full-time, cared for her young family and worked at Carnival Cruise Lines. A “mature” student, Bright was awarded a Presidential Scholarship to earn the bachelor’s in psychology she received Saturday.

More than 53,000 degrees have been conferred on students at Florida Tech since 1958, when 154 students signed up for the first fall semester.

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