Press Release

Franklin Hosts a Momentous173rd Commencement Ceremony with Multiple Achievement Milestones


Sherry Mercurio
Executive Director, Office of Community Relations
(614) 947-6581

Columbus, OH (May 10, 2023)

Franklin University, one of the leading educators of working adults, will hold its 173rd Commencement Ceremony on Friday, May 19, 2023, at 7 p.m. (EDT), during which the University’s newest degree candidates will receive their diplomas. This commencement ceremony will take place at The Greater Columbus Convention Center, Battelle Grand Ballroom, 400 N. High St. in downtown Columbus.

As Franklin honors the achievements of its newest class of graduates, this term’s commencement marks a number of additional distinctions– including of great significance reaching the milestone of the largest group of graduates (nearly 1,000) and largest number to participate in the ceremony (530 students). Through this milestone, the University continues to achieve significant growth in its student numbers and flourishing worldwide network of more than 50,000 alumni.

Celebrating the University’s largest graduating class is possible through the fulfillment of Franklin’s mission to make education accessible to the broadest community of learners. Learners such as new doctoral graduates, Earn + Learn cohort participants, and from the community college Pathway Portal program. Through each of these groups, new heights of access and impact are achieved in central Ohio and across the world.

Doctoral Milestone
Franklin University is honored to recognize its doctoral leaders who, through their successful dissertation defenses, help the University to reach the milestone of over 100 doctoral degrees conferred since the first group of doctoral students started in January of 2017. Franklin commends its doctorate graduates for successfully defending to lead, innovate and transform their organizations and communities around them.

Earn + Learn Milestone
Continuing the list of firsts, the University is proud to recognize its inaugural Earn + Learn cohort, acknowledging 13 Master of Business Administration (MBA) and 22 Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) graduates through its thriving partnership while strengthening Ohio’s talented workforce. Together, these students, their employers, and Franklin University help shape the leadership of today’s and tomorrow’s workforce.

Pathway Portal Milestone
Adding to the impact and success of its community college partnerships, the University applauds the newest group of graduates to have transferred their community college associate’s degree toward a bachelor’s degree at Franklin and applauds its Community College Alliance partners for making the attainment of a bachelor’s degree more accessible by providing a seamless transfer process for students. Of special note in this dedicated group of graduates are the first three Pathway Portal graduates, representing students who transferred their associate degree from Eastern Gateway Community College and Edison Community College. Congratulations on making history and a smart investment through one of the nation’s best transfer options.

Commencement Speaker
Providing additional inspiration to this ceremony celebrating achievement and honoring the numerous and unique paths taken to earn a degree, Judge Kimberly CoCroft will provide the Commencement Address. For 14 years, Judge Kimberly Cocroft has served the citizens of Franklin County with pride, passion and professionalism. Judge Cocroft was appointed judge for the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, General Division, by Gov. Ted Strickland in 2009. Prior to her appointment, she served as deputy legal counsel for Gov. Strickland and as a law clerk for Justice Alice Robie Resnick at the Supreme Court of Ohio. After completing her service at the Ohio Supreme Court, she spent several years in private law practice, specializing in business and employment litigation.

In 2010 and 2016, Judge Cocroft was elected to six-year terms as a Franklin County Common Pleas Court judge. In 2022, she ran without opposition and secured her 3rd six-year term, during which she served as the court’s administrative judge and was the first woman in the history of this court to be elected to that position.
In 2016, Judge Cocroft partnered with Columbus City Schools to develop programming that focused on the consequences of negative choices and the power of positive choices. She is a frequent guest speaker and panelist and was a featured panelist for a live town hall discussion titled, “Stopping Youth Violence in Our Community” sponsored by NBC 4 WCMH-TV. 

Judge Cocroft is a lifelong member of Triedstone Missionary Baptist Church and is actively involved in numerous community and professional service organizations. Over the past 12 years, she has received many awards recognizing professional achievement, dedication and service. Judge Cocroft earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at The Ohio State University. She is also a graduate of the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State.

Note: The Spring 2023 commencement ceremony will be streamed live for those families and friends who wish to watch the ceremony from home. A link to access the live stream will be made available on the Graduation Information page ( at 7 p.m. (EDT) on Friday, May, 19, 2023.

About Franklin University

Accredited, nonprofit, and dedicated to educating adults since 1902, Franklin provides onsite course options at our Main Campus in downtown Columbus, Ohio, and is an innovator in providing personalized online education. The University offers applied in-demand undergraduate, masters, and doctorate programs that enable adult learners to achieve their educational and professional goals. Through agreements with partner institutions, the University also offers international academic programs, including its top-ranked MBA.

Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and holds specialized accreditations for specific academic programs through the International Accreditation Council for Business Education, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation, and the Commission on Accreditation of Health Informatics and Information Management Education. The National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security have designated Franklin University as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).

News Type

  • University