K-State celebrates graduates, awards honorary doctorate to global health leader

K-State Alumni Communications and K-State Communications and Marketing

Dr. Guy H. Palmer '77, '80, '16 is presented with an honorary doctorate by April Mason, provost and senior vice president, and former Kansas State University President Kirk Schulz. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

During his address at the Kansas State University Graduate School commencement ceremony May 13, spring 2016 honorary doctorate recipient Dr. Guy H. Palmer ’77, ’80, ’16 urged graduates not to take the gift of education for granted. 

Higher education is a precious commodity, and not everyone in the world is able to access this resource. Palmer said if the entire world was condensed to a town of 100, only seven people in this “town” would have a university degree.

“Your access to education is a great privilege, and brings with it great responsibility,” Palmer said. 

K-State celebrated the educational achievements of about 3,000 students during commencement ceremonies May 7 at Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina and May 13-14 at the Manhattan campus. 

Degrees awarded include 2,800 bachelor’s, more than 460 master’s, nearly 90 doctorates, 115 Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and 10 associate. More than 240 students earned degrees through K-State Global Campus distance degree programs.

Julie Samuelson submitted this photo of her daughter and new graduate Carlie Samuelson (right), along with Carlie's friends Natalie Otto, Alison Anstine and Taylor Russo, all from Overland Park, Kansas. (Courtesy photo)
Palmer received an honorary doctorate and served as the commencement speaker at the Graduate School ceremony. He serves as the senior director for global health at Washington State University and is a Regents professor of pathology and infectious diseases. He leads global health programs in East and West Africa and Latin America and directs the Robert R. Fast Infectious Diseases Research Laboratory.

Palmer’s career in infectious disease research began during his time in the K-State rabies lab. Since then, he has studied emerging diseases and their global impact, and the connection between human and animal health. Rabies continues to be a huge problem worldwide for both animals and humans, and Palmer’s goal is to facilitate multidisciplinary collaborations producing research that will ultimately save lives. 

Palmer said his time at K-State was a life-changing experience, and he highlighted K-State’s role as “a center of innovation.” He thanked K-State and the Kansas Board of Regents for granting him an honorary doctorate.

“This honor is deeply meaningful, given the accomplishments and global impact of prior recipients,” he said. “It is humbling to join those distinguished individuals.”


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