CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Oregon State University Class of 2015 will top 6,000 graduates for the first time in the university's history - and many of the newest members of Beaver Nation will be on hand this Saturday, June 13, when OSU holds its 146th commencement.

The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m. in Reser Stadium on campus. No tickets are required for the event, which also will be shown on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

A total of 6,038 graduates will receive 6,317 degrees this year, according to OSU Registrar Rebecca Mathern. They will add to the ranks of Oregon State alumni, which have earned a total of 230,136 degrees over the university's history.

Howard K. Koh, director of the Leading Change Studio at Harvard University's T.H. Chan School of Public Health, will deliver the commencement address. Koh also will receive an honorary doctorate from Oregon State. He is a former member of the Obama Administration, serving as the nation's 14th Assistant Secretary for Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Some facts and figures about OSU's Class of 2015:

  • Of the 6,317 degrees that will be awarded, 4,981 will go to students receiving baccalaureate degrees; 960, master's degrees; 232, doctor of philosophy degrees; 83, doctor of pharmacy degrees; and 61, doctor of veterinary medicine degrees.
  • A total of 590 graduates earned degrees in distance education in 33 different degree programs.
  • OSU's 2015 graduates come from all 36 Oregon counties, 49 of the 50 states, four U.S. territories or commonwealths, and 63 nations around the world.
  • The oldest graduate is 70 years of age; the youngest is 20.
  • The graduating class includes 121 veterans of U.S. military service.

Each of the 6,038 OSU graduates has a compelling story. Take, for instance, Claire Ostertag-Hill, who moved to Corvallis from Germany so she could be part of the University Honors College at OSU. She pursued three majors simultaneously - biology, psychology and international studies - with support from an OSU Presidential Scholarship. As part of her honors senior thesis, she conducted research on cattle disease and discovered mutations in several genes that may be the cause of Bovine HPV-1 disease.

Now Ostertag-Hill is taking her studies to the prestigious Wake Forest Medical School in North Carolina, where she will pursue her dream of becoming a pediatric surgeon.

Michael Davis, who hails from the tiny farm town of Ramsey, Indiana, joined the U.S. Army in 2001 and served in Iraq, where he sustained injuries. At the age of 28, he retired from the military and began driving trucks for a living. Interested in bettering his career, he discovered OSU's Ecampus distance learning program and enrolled as an agricultural sciences student.

The flexibility and challenging coursework appealed to the veteran, who sandwiched his studies around 50-hour weeks of driving trucks and vocational rehabilitation sessions at the Veterans Affairs office. Davis and his family are traveling the 2,000 miles to Corvallis to attend commencement.

Mathern said OSU expects about 3,800 students - and more than 23,000 friends and family members - to attend commencement. Oregon State is one of the only universities of its size to hand out actual diplomas to students as they graduate.

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Steve Clark, 541-737-3808,