Frostburg State University Announces May 2020 Commencement Speakers

May 13, 2020 1:20 PM

Frostburg State University has postponed its May commencement ceremony until large-scale gatherings are permitted; however, it intends to award degrees to candidates for graduation on time, as well as recognize those students chosen by their respective academic colleges as speakers. This spring’s commencement speakers are Noelle Otto from the College of Business, Austin K. Lee from the College of Education and Kodi Bowers from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Otto graduates with a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. Otto, who made the dean’s list every semester at Frostburg with a 4.0 GPA, has shown a consistent commitment to excellence by being able to begin her senior year at the age of 19. She has worked as a federal procurement intern at IBM and has run her own freelance photography business since 2016. Otto has been very active in the campus community, serving as president for Cru, the on-campus ministry. She also has experience in global leadership through her role as a missionary volunteer in Haiti for Lifesong MBO Haiti. Otto has also been recognized by numerous organizations, such as the Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Eta Sigma honors societies, as well as the Sloop Institute for Excellence in Leadership and S.O.A.R. Leadership Training Series. After graduation, she plans to continue her career at IBM, with a long-term goal of pursuing a doctorate in organizational behavior or strategy and teaching at the university level.

Lee will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in exercise and sports science. After graduating from Fort Hill High School in 2012, Lee served in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence signals analyst for three years of active duty and continues serving in traditional reserve status, reaching the rank of technical sergeant (E-6). In 2017, he was recognized among his peers as Airman of the Year for the 63rd Intelligence Squadron. Following his active duty service, he earned an Associate of Applied Science from Allegany College of Maryland through the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Lee practices as a licensed physical therapist assistant in multiple nursing homes throughout the region in a part-time capacity while studying full-time at Frostburg State University. Described by faculty members as “multi-dimensional, ambitious, eager and pro-active,” Lee will continue his education at Shenandoah University in the fall to earn a Doctorate of Physical Therapy.

Bowers will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife and fisheries with a minor in sustainability studies. Bowers has shown true dedication to his studies, his community and his country; he enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at 17. During his seven-month tour in Iraq, Bowers was injured in the line of duty and awarded the Purple Heart. After an honorable discharge from the military, he worked in security, then furthered his education, first at Hagerstown Community College, then, after earning his Associate Degree in biology with honors, at Frostburg. He balanced the responsibilities of being a husband, father, student and a veteran student worker in the FSU Veterans Center, along with a three-hour commute. He was president of FSU’s chapter of Student Veterans of America; a member of Phi Theta Kappa, SALUTE and Beta Beta Beta national honor societies; and a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success. He been often-honored for service to the community, including the Toys for Tots Commander’s Award for excellence and outstanding support for five straight years; the Governor’s Volunteer Service Certification for contributions to the citizens of Maryland; U.S. Senatorial citations in recognition of service to AmeriCorps and commitment to the community; U.S. Congressional certificates of Special Recognition; and, in 2018, recognition by the Baltimore Ravens as Maryland’s Hometown Hero for his military service and his hard work and dedication within the community.

Beginning on Monday, May 18, the week of the original ceremony, FSU will celebrate a virtual “Grad Week” with social media postings all week, allowing graduates to celebrate their achievement on social media and receive congratulations from family, friends and faculty who have supported them in their journey. Anyone who wishes to participate or follow is encouraged to use the hashtag #FrostburgGrad2020.

Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit or Follow FSU on Twitter @frostburgstate.