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Record-breaking Oregon State Ecampus graduating class features 1,861 students

Touring musician and entrepreneur Josh Misko is among the Class of 2023 adult learners who earned a degree online

By Tyler Hansen
June 14, 2023

There’s an upcoming gap between live performances for Josh Misko and the musicians he performs with in the world-famous Nashville music scene. His life and career often pull him in many directions, but the absence of live music on his calendar is a result of him heading in one specific direction: the West Coast.

Misko will be in Corvallis, Oregon, on Saturday, June 17 to be honored as a member of Oregon State University’s graduating Class of 2023. He is one of the record-setting 1,861 students who completed degree requirements online with Oregon State Ecampus.

Misko’s trip westward to participate in OSU’s 154th commencement ceremony will mark the culmination of a winding academic journey. It began with his university application initially being denied, but his OSU career came to be defined by academic excellence as he earned a business administration bachelor’s degree online.

In the process, he strengthened his career as an in-demand musician, producer and talent manager whose studies made him a more skilled music business professional, he says.

Oregon State Ecampus Class of 2023 quick facts

States with the most graduates
603 — Oregon
313 — California
173 — Washington
95 — Texas
43 — Colorado

Undergraduate programs with the most graduates
611 — Computer science
139 — Psychology
118 — Business administration
87 — Fisheries, wildlife and conservation sciences
75 — Natural resources

Graduate programs with the most graduates
44 — MBA
42 — Master of Natural Resources
42 — Master of Counseling
28 — M.S. in Data analytics
26 — MHP in Radiation Health Physics

“I’ve always had a passion for business, and pursuing my degree formally helped me hone my discipline,” said Misko, who received Oregon State’s Drucilla Shepard Smith Scholastic Award, given annually to students who earn a 4.0 cumulative GPA.

“Oregon State enabled me to train myself in terms of time blocking and time management, and that level of discipline, as well as having great mentors and partners, helped me found and expand my businesses.”

Oregon State’s Class of 2023 features a record 7,338 students in all, and Ecampus graduates make up more than 25% of that figure. The online learners hail from 48 states and 18 countries including Peru, Bulgaria, Japan and Canada.

The Ecampus graduates also represent 60 different degree programs, from anthropology and counseling to radiation health physics and zoology. The breadth of knowledge the students gained online aligns with their varied professional backgrounds. They are software engineers, public affairs specialists, military service members, retail professionals, educators, family caretakers and everything in between.

“Oregon State’s online learners are a constant source of inspiration because of the resilience they demonstrate managing life’s responsibilities while earning their degrees online,” said Ecampus Associate Provost Lisa L. Templeton. “We’re proud to support their efforts and celebrate their successes from day 1 to graduation and beyond.”

Misko plays guitar and sings backing vocals for various acts in Nashville and the Southeast, including pop-country artist Connor McCutcheon. His demanding schedule as a touring performer means he took his studies on the road with him, sometimes studying for tests and completing assignments backstage before live shows.

The concepts he learned in his online business courses have positively impacted his flourishing career in the music industry. In addition to performing, Misko is the CEO of Incubate Talent Group, head talent buyer for Turnipblood Entertainment, and he’s the co-creator of a patented guitar accessory called The Switchlock.

“All of the business courses were really fulfilling in different ways,” said Misko, who splits his time between Atlanta and Nashville. “It was fun to take the formula of the class and apply it to what I was already doing as an entrepreneur, then see what worked and what didn’t.”

A man holds a guitar in his lap while sitting in front of a bookcase.

Josh Misko is a touring musician, producer, talent manager and entrepreneur based in Atlanta and Nashville.

Misko’s visit to Corvallis will be a family homecoming of sorts; his father, John Misko, is also an Oregon State alumnus and will attend Saturday’s ceremony. The elder Misko was a punter for the OSU football team in 1978 — in the same stadium where his son’s commencement will be held — and played four seasons in the NFL in the 1980s.

That family connection helped steer Josh Misko to Oregon State in 2018. But he required persistence — and support from his wife, Kayla — to push past the initial denial of his OSU application. Unsatisfactory high school grades temporarily impeded Misko’s ambition for a formal business education.

He successfully appealed the application decision and quickly proved his merits as a student. In addition to earning the Drucilla Shepard Smith Scholastic Award in 2019, he was inducted into OSU’s chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society for adult learners.

Now Misko is set to take part in commencement alongside thousands of classmates. Some elements will feel familiar to him: being the focus of the audience’s attention, receiving a raucous applause. But he has never been center stage at an event like this, and he has waited — and worked — years to bask in the spotlight.

“So much has happened during my time at OSU. I mean, my whole life has changed,” he said. “I made a commitment to myself that I’m going to graduate, I’m going to excel. And I did it. Oregon State gave me a second chance to finish my education, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

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