K-State celebrates fall graduates; Marlin Fitzwater receives honorary doctorate 

K-State Alumni Communications

Former White House press secretary Marlin Fitzwater '65, '15 receives an honorary doctorate at the Graduate School commencement ceremony Dec. 11. Watch a highlight video. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

Graduation is an ending, but also a beginning — an opportunity to go out into the world and do great things. Although life will bring challenges, Marlin Fitzwater '65, '15, Kansas State University's fall 2015 Graduate School commencement speaker and former White House press secretary, encouraged students to face those challenges and push themselves to succeed.

Fitzwater was presented with an honorary doctorate at the Graduate School commencement ceremony Dec. 11 in Manhattan.

“Don’t be afraid to use your degree,” Fitzwater said. “Let your knowledge give you the courage to lead. The future is brighter in America than it may seem. We still have the heart and soul for great adventures.”

Fall commencement ceremonies also took place Dec. 11 at the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus, followed by undergraduate commencement ceremonies Dec. 12 at K-State's Manhattan campus. The university awarded 1,300 bachelor's degrees, 340 master's degrees, 70 doctorates and 10 associate degrees. More than 300 students earned their degree through K-State Global Campus distance education programs.

During his address, Fitzwater encouraged students to reflect on the value of those degrees and the K-State experience as they begin a new chapter in their lives. 

Students celebrate their upcoming graduation at the K-State Alumni Association's annual Grad Breakfast on Dec. 10. (Photo: David Mayes '96)

“Kansas State University has given you a great education, a mountain of opportunities and memories that will last a lifetime,” Fitzwater said.

Raised on a small farm near Abilene, Kansas, Fitzwater served as a press secretary for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and played a key role in major moments in history, such as the Cold War and Operation Desert Storm. He met with international heads of state, wrote several books and dined at Buckingham Palace. Reagan referred to him as the “great communicator.”

Fitzwater thanked K-State administrators for his honorary doctorate and for starting him on the path to success. 

“I was extremely proud of my first degree, and I’m just as proud of this one,” Fitzwater said. “It validates my life’s work.”

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