2021 Spring Commencement Ceremonies
Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees from the Colleges of:
9:30 a.m. CDT May 8, 2021
Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences
4 p.m. CDT May 8, 2021
Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
10 a.m. CDT May 9, 2021
Education and Human Sciences
4 p.m CDT May 9, 2021
Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions
Student Spotlight - Graduate Ceremony Speakers
May 8 is graduation day for Thalissa Grant-McClure, the culmination of a two-year adventure to gain a master’s degree in mass communication. It also will be her second day on campus. The first will be May 7.
Grant-McClure, who completed her studies in fall 2020, is a resident of Guyana, the only English-speaking country in South America. All of her graduate work was online. “I cannot wait to be on campus. I want to see some of the things I’ve missed not being on campus,” said Grant-McClure, who plans to tour campus May 7 and take some selfies with her husband and her brother, a U.S. citizen.
She has been to the United States several times and has family in New York and New Jersey, but has never visited the state in which her alma mater is located.
In her native country, Grant-McClure is a public relations officer with the post office, which is a semi-autonomous entity that has government oversight. Her schooling has allowed her to become a “trendsetter” in her profession there, learning “technological secrets that are not necessarily readily available where I am located.”
As an example, she has proposed that rather than sending news releases, the postal service would give media personnel access via a unique login to what is going on in the organization. “It’s something I really like,” Grant-McClure said.
Her work with the postal service is a second career. She has spent 10 years in education with her first teaching job coming right after high school in 1998. Years when she wasn’t teaching high school students, she was tutoring. During her teaching years, she also orchestrated trips for her students to Venezuela, Margarita and Panama.
Grant-McClure enrolled in the SDSU online program while still in education.
“I needed something that had the flexibility I needed. I wanted a mass comm program that would work with my schedule and not require me to relocate,” she said. The “shopping” process took several years and she finally enrolled for fall 2018 after deciding the SDSU program offered “everything I wanted.”
“I never expected to be a graduation speaker. That was not something I aspired to during the course of my studies. When I got information I was nominated (by a faculty member), I was exhilarated, overcome with emotion,” she said, recalling the email she received in March.
“When the opportunity came, I thought ‘Why not?’ I’ve worked really hard for it. I thought it was a fantastic opportunity,” Grant-McClure said.
Her graduation speech will be one of encouragement and challenge based on her own introspection. “Why me? Why now? Why here? I’m absolutely positive I’m not alone is asking those questions.”
Grant-McClure and her husband, Cordell McClure, have three daughters, ages 24, 18 and 10.
She will speak at the 4 p.m. Saturday, May 8, ceremony for graduates of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
Brianna Vig of Brookings spent her four undergraduate years at State as a cheerleader. For arguably the biggest football game in the school’s history, she was on the sidelines again, but not as a cheerleader.
When SDSU hosted rival North Dakota State Oct. 26, 2019, with the Dakota Marker trophy at stake and ESPN’s GameDay coverage putting the Jackrabbits in the national spotlight, Vig was a first-year graduate student and an employee of Jackrabbit Sports Properties, Learfield IMG College. She joined them in April.
As coordinator of partnership services, Vig was in the southwest corner of the Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium field near the SDSU cheerleaders.
When it was time for representatives of the corporate game sponsors to receive on-field recognition, Vig escorted them onto the turf, coordinated with film crews and photographed the recognition. “So, yes, I was working, but it doesn’t feel like work most games because I truly love what I do,” she said.
The majority of her work precedes the kickoff.
She is responsible for aligning online and video board sponsorship recognitions, making sure the radio broadcaster has the correct 30-second spots and setting up padded sideline signage.
She was one of the individuals who learned ESPN GameDay was coming after an Oct. 20 call from her boss letting her know she’d be extra busy as ESPN would be bringing its national crew to campus for two days of telecasts. But she was sworn to secrecy until the public announcement was made later that day. “That was the most exciting call I have ever received. It was unreal to have ESPN come here, come to our campus. Bring the Blue (SDSU’s promotional hashtag for the week) will be remembered forever,” Vig said.
The May 2019 sport and recreation management graduate has some other forever memories from her six years at South Dakota State.
One is an eight-week internship spent in Santiago, Chile, working with Wheel the World on an adaptive cycling program in summer 2018. She did marketing and promotional work for the program that allowed people with disabilities to use handcycles or other adaptive bicycles to navigate closed streets in downtown Santiago Sunday afternoons.
It was a new program that started with 25 users and a few bikes. By the end of the summer, there were more than 50 participants and seven bikes, Vig said.
Also during her time at SDSU, Vig served as a College of Education and Human Sciences ambassador and Sport and Recreation Management Club co-president, played intramural sports and coached the Brookings High School competitive cheerleading team.
After receiving her master’s degree in sport and recreation administration, Vig plans to find a job in collegiate sport sponsorship or marketing.
She is the daughter of John Vig and Darla Vig, of Brookings.
Vig will speak at the 10 a.m. Sunday, May 9, ceremony for graduates of the colleges of Education and Human Sciences and the Jerome J. Lohr College of Engineering.
Upcoming Dates for Graduation Candidates:
May 7, 2021 - Capstone Component Completion
May 8, 2021 - Spring 2021 Commencement Ceremony
June 18, 2021 - Official Transcripts Available
August 2021 - Diplomas Available
Graduate Students can REGISTER for Summer and Fall 2021 courses.
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