FSU’s Honorary Graduate Shared Her Love for Education

Photos by Navael Fontus
More than 2,600 graduated from FSU during the Dec. 13 Commencement Ceremony.

By Navael Fontus
Outlook Writer

Louise Jones Gopher explained to more than 2,000 Florida State University graduates at the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center how education didn’t come easy for her. But that didn’t stop her from getting an education and encouraging the children of her Seminole Tribe to do the same.

Gopher received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from FSU at the Saturday, Dec. 13 commencement ceremony. Gopher, a member of the Seminole Tribe of Florida, and a well-known education advocate, shared with FSU graduates how education is a “goldmine” and has been a mainstay in her life.

“I needed to stay in the world of education and bring that great gift to members of my tribe, especially the young people,” Gopher said, according to a news release. “Since then, I’ve worked hard to not only awaken the love of learning in them, but especially the love and understanding of their language, culture and customs as Seminole Indians.”

Family, friends and students gathered to celebrate Gopher and the thousands of other FSU graduates.

Saturday morning, the civic center was packed with excited loved ones waiting to see their graduates take their momentous walk across the stage. On Friday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 13 more than 2,600 graduates were awarded degrees.

Saturday served as FSU President John Thrasher’s first commencement weekend leading the university. He paid tribute to all the graduates for their hard work and wished them all individual success. He also spoke about the rich tradition the commencement ceremonies carry and stressed the importance of becoming a part of the alumni association at FSU.

“Our robes, our caps, our cords, our tassels identify the institution from which we graduated and the degrees which we’ve earned,” said Thrasher. “All the symbols and traditions add simple meaning as you take your place as alumni of Florida State University.”

Stefano Cavallaro, student body president of Florida State, offered insight to his fellow peers.

“No matter what degree you’ve worked hard to own today, you’ve just completed the greatest investment in yourself you will ever make- earning your degree from Florida State University,” Cavallaro said.

The grand ceremony ended with the traditional singing of the Hymn to the Garnet and Gold while graduates tomahawk chopped for the last time as students.

Angeline J. Taylor contributed to this article.