WKU graduates celebrated at Spring 2023 Graduation Ceremonies

Over 2,000 students walked across the stage at E.A. Diddle Arena to receive their long-awaited diploma
Thousands of people packed E.A. Diddle Arena on Friday, May 5 to celebrate the achievements of the WKU Class of 2023.
Published: May. 5, 2023 at 7:14 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - “Stand up and cheer, for dear old Western.”

The WKU Spring 2023 semester has officially come to a close. Many Hilltoppers walked across the stage to receive their diploma after years of hard work and dedication.

Thousands of people packed E.A. Diddle Arena on Friday, May 5 to celebrate the achievements of the WKU Class of 2023.

Graduates walked into the arena with their caps decorated, and waving their red towels one last time as a student.

Some students walked across the stage just like some of their family members did before them. For others, walking across the stage meant more than receiving a degree. It meant calling themselves college graduates for the first time in their family’s history.

“I never thought that I would make it this far. I actually did take a semester off and took a little bit of a break. Things just got really tough, so being here and finally getting to do this is pretty crazy,” said Taylor Henning, an Instrumental Music Education major and first-generation college graduate.

Henning, a Breckenridge County native, said her family and professors played a vital role in her college career. Without them, walking across the stage may not have happened.

“If it were not for my amazing professors, I would not be standing here today. Especially my family and friends as well,” said Henning.

There were even WKU graduates from afar, becoming the first in their families to receive a college degree.

“It was awesome. It is very exciting to be the first in my generation to graduate college, and set that standard for my entire generation to come,” said Espoire Pierre, a Criminology major and first-generation college graduate from the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“My family was really understanding. They pushed me through, even in the hard times when I felt like quitting. I just kept going and they kept pushing me.”

For not only the first-generation college graduates, but for every student becoming a Hilltopper alum, stand up and wave those red towels one last time.

“For this is dear old Western’s day.”