WSU holding spring commencement ceremonies


More than 2,400 students are eligible to participate in the 124th spring commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 14, at Wichita State University. Ceremonies will be held in Charles Koch Arena and streamed live.

Undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred in the following college ceremonies:

  • 9 a.m. Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; College of Fine Arts; Dorothy and Bill Cohen Honors College; and the College of Innovation and Design
    Guest speaker: Julius Thomas III
  • 1 p.m. College of Applied Studies and the College of Health Professions
    Guest speaker: Michael Monteferrante
  • 5 p.m. W. Frank Barton School of Business and the College of Engineering
    Guest speaker: Kash Shaikh

Julius Thomas III, actor
Julius Thomas III is an NAACP Theatre Award-nominated actor originally from Gary, Indiana. He currently stars as Alexander Hamilton in the cultural phenom, Hamilton. He is a Broadway veteran, having appeared in the original companies of The Scottsboro Boys and Porgy & Bess, and as the lead in the smash hit, Motown the Musical.

He has appeared on Modern Family, Odd Mom Out, GMA, The Capitol Fourth Celebration, The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, Live with Kelly and Michael, and more.

Thomas III splits his time between New York, Los Angeles and touring gigs as one half of the critically acclaimed Kings of Soul and Swing.

A Shocker through and through, Thomas III is extremely proud of the training he received at Wichita State University. He is an honors graduate from the School of Performing Arts, having earned a BFA with a concentration in musical theater. 

Michael Monteferrante, Envision CEO
Michael Monteferrante has been the president and CEO of Envision since 2013. Envision is one of the nation’s largest agencies that strives to improve the quality of life for people of all ages who are blind or visually impaired. Envision provides opportunities through innovative outreach, rehabilitation, education, research and community programs. And through the power of employment, Envision helps people gain life skills and relevant work training for jobs. Envision employs more than 500 people, with 92% of its direct labor workforce made up of individuals who are blind or visually impaired.

Previously, Monteferrante has been the CEO of leading organizations in industries including transportation, technology, engineering, commercial real estate, construction and food.

Monteferrante has chaired and served on numerous board of directors including Wichita Regional Chamber of Commerce, National Industries for the Blind, The National Association for the Employment of People Who Are Blind, Visit Wichita Convention and Visitors Bureau, Future Food Brands, Vintage Bank, Kansas Red Cross, Kansas Humane Society and Park City Convention and Tourism. He has a BBA in business management from Boise State University and was recognized as a Distinguished Alumni in 2014. In addition, he has been honored as Wichita Executive of the Year and Innovator of the Year.

Kash Shaikh, president and CEO, Virtana
Kash Shaikh is the president and CEO of Virtana, a leading provider of AI-driven monitoring solutions for hybrid cloud management based in Silicon Valley. The company, with Shaikh at the helm, has raised a total of $88 million to accelerate growth and continue innovation in the AI Operations market. 
Shaikh brings more than 25 years of experience in the cloud and data center industry to his role as president and CEO. He has made a name for himself by improving results in small and large Fortune 100 public companies with his strategic acumen. This is evident by the recognitions Virtana received in 2021 alone including Best Company Culture (Comparably), Best Company for Woman (Comparably), Top 10 Player in Reducing Cloud Costs (Business Insider), the Cloud Innovation Award (Channel Partner Insight), Cloud Platform Innovation of the Year (SDC Awards) and Cloud Transformation Project of the Year (SDC Awards).

Prior to Virtana, Shaikh was global vice president and general manager of Solutions Business at Dell Technologies and held executive and leadership roles at public companies, including Ruckus Wireless, Riverbed Technologies, Hewlett Packard, Cisco, and Nortel Networks.

He holds a master’s in electrical engineering with an emphasis on software programming from Wichita State University and an MBA from Boise State University with a focus on general management.

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