1,032 Students to Receive Degrees at Southeast Spring Commencement

Photo of David Steward

David Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT), will deliver the commencement address.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

May 5, 2009 – A total of 1,032 students – 903 undergraduates and 129 graduate students — will receive their degrees at spring commencement exercises at 2 p.m. May 16 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State.

David Steward, founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, Inc. (WWT), will deliver the commencement address.

With more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry, Steward spends the majority of his time with WWT developing strategic supplier, customer and employee relationships. He plays a key role in WWT’s pursuit of large contract bids within its industry specific operating companies. Steward also serves as chairman of the board for Telcobuy.com, an affiliate of WWT since 1997. Prior to starting WWT, Steward held various senior level management positions with Wagner Electric, Missouri Pacific Railroad and Federal Express Corporation.

An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 301 undergraduates, 75 graduate students and seven students receiving specialist degrees will be honored. Ed Buis, director of Kent Library, will present the Honors Convocation address.

The commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. will be streamed live with limited access on the Internet at http://wmserver.cstl.semo.edu/grad for those wishing to watch the ceremony online. Those planning to attend the commencement ceremony in person will find that the number of available parking spaces has been slightly reduced due to construction on the next phase of the Multi-Modal Transfer Facility. To accommodate commencement guests, shuttles will run from 1 to 5:15 p.m. Shuttle service is available from the Towers complex parking garage and parking lots, and also from lots adjacent to or near the Dempster building, located on North Henderson. The shuttles are equipped to assist guests who may have mobility issues. 

Leading the class of undergraduates are 19 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Among them are:

• Chelsa Altena of Craig, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in finance and a minor in Spanish.• Alicia Broshuis of Advance, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in Spanish education.• Chelsea Criddle of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.• Travis Eakin of Bell City, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with major in history and a minor in political science.• James “Joe” Gholson of Harrisburg, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.• Jana Gibson of Lake St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in chemistry and a minor in Spanish.• Brooke Grah of Chester, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.• Sara Jean Hendricks of Marble Hill, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration with a major in accounting.• Stephanie Hoeing of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies, dietetics option.• Hannah Korte of St. Joseph, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology.• Jennifer Miller of Dongola, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in international business and minors in Spanish and economics.• Jessica Miller of Dongola, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in international business and minors in Spanish and economics.• Heather Mills of St. Elmo, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in sport management and a minor in business administration.• Kira Pottorf of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in early childhood education.• Joshua Powers of Sikeston, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with majors in pure mathematics and applied mathematics and statistics.• Lindsey Reinhardt of Belleville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.• Anthony Riley of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of general studies degree.• Rachel Story of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in Spanish education and a minor in French.• Amy Warren of Cincinnati, Ohio, who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in Spanish and a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders.

Eighteen honors scholars will be recognized in the graduating class. They are:

• Alicia Broshuis of Advance, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in Spanish education.• Gussie Brotherton III of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a  major in biology, biomedical sciences option.• Hallie Fieser of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in historic preservation and a minor in housing and interior design.• James “Joe” Gholson of Harrisburg, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.• Daniel Janowski of Okawville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with majors in history and political science.• Jessica Klipfel of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders and a minor in child studies.• Kelly Kuehn of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option, and a minor in chemistry.• Stephanie Long of Webster Groves, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.• Alison Martin of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders, developmental psychology minor.• Melissa Medcalf of Ballwin, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in marketing management and a minor in finance.• Brittni Peck of Sparta, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option, and a minor in agriculture.• Anna Powell of Risco, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English and minors in history and historic preservation.• Jenna Russell of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in family and consumer science education degree.• Brittany Ryan of McClure, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in social work.• Cecelia Sponsel of Plato, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology.• Andrea Thompson of St. Charles, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration with a major in integrated marketing communications.• Amy Warren of Cincinnati, Ohio, who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in Spanish and a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders.• Leah Wilson of Philadelphia, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in health management, exercise science option.

To be recognized as an honors scholar, students must complete 24 hours of honors coursework, six of which are at the senior level, and maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.25. Honors scholars also must complete a senior research project.

Three students will graduate with academic distinction in their major department. They are:

• Hallie Fieser of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in historic preservation and a minor in housing and interior design.• Hannah Korte of St. Joseph, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology.• Jeremy Lothian of Maryville, Tenn., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in applied computer science and a minor in anthropology.

Students who graduate with “Academic Distinction in the Department of Major” complete a special project in conjunction with a faculty committee, department chair and dean. Students carry out the project after they complete at least 75 credit hours of course work with a minimum 3.25 grade point average in their major department and a minimum 3.0 overall grade point average.

Eighty-nine graduating members of Phi Kappa Phi also will be recognized during commencement exercises. Phi Kappa Phi is the oldest international honor society, having been established in 1897. Southeast chartered its Phi Kappa Phi chapter in 1992. The charter is only extended to colleges and universities meeting the society’s rigorous standards, and is open to men and women in all academic fields who have demonstrated excellence of scholarship and integrity of character.

Graduating seniors who rank in the upper 10 percent of their class, juniors who rank in the upper 7.5 percent of their class; and graduate and professional students who have a graduate grade point average of 4.0 and have an outstanding undergraduate record are eligible for consideration.

Also graduating will be 89 members of Phi Eta Sigma. Phi Eta Sigma is a national scholastic  honor society that recognizes high scholastic achievement during the first year of college and offers leadership and scholastic opportunities. The Southeast chapter was established in 1984. Students inducted into Phi Eta Sigma attained at least a 3.5 grade point average on a four-point scale during their first semester or year at Southeast.

In addition, seven members of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni, will graduate. Students inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa are juniors, seniors and graduate students who are in the upper one-third of their class academically and who have demonstrated achievement in one of the following five areas: scholarship; athletics; campus and community services, social and religious activities, or campus government; journalism, speech and the mass media; and creative and performing arts. The society is designed to recognize those who have exhibited a high standard of leadership and effectiveness in collegiate activities, to bring together student leaders from all sectors of collegiate interest; and to bring together members of the faculty and the student body on a basis of mutual interest and understanding.

The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Sara Edgerton will perform during the commencement ceremony. Singing the “The Star Spangled Banner” will be Carolyn Dryer and the “Alma Mater” will be Sean Montgomery, both members of the graduating class. Ed Buis, director of Kent Library, will serve as the grand marshal.

Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 52 will graduate summa cum laude, 63 will graduate magna cum laude and 163 will graduate cum laude. Eighty-two graduate students will participate in the Honors Convocation.

The required undergraduate grade point average for graduating summa cum laude is 3.9 to 4.0. Students graduating magna cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89. Students graduating cum laude must earn a grade point average of cum laude is 3.5 to 3.74. Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.

The commencement speaker, David Steward, founded World Wide Technology, Inc. in 1990 with just 4,000 square feet of office space, tremendous perseverance and the desire to distribute computer hardware, software and services to the federal government. Under Steward’s leadership, WWT has grown from a small start-up to the leading supplier of advanced technology solutions to the U.S. government, offering products from more than 3,000 manufacturers around the world. Headquartered in St. Louis, with over 1,200 employees, along with more than 1.5 million square feet of facilities, WWT now ranks as one of the leading Cisco partners in North America and is a world-class organization approaching $3 billion in revenue with offices around the globe.

Steward holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Central Missouri State University. In addition, Steward was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2002 by Harris Stowe State University.

Steward has maintained a longstanding commitment to an array of philanthropic organizations. He currently serves as the 2009 president of the board of directors of Variety the Children’s Charity of St. Louis.  He also served as the chair of the board of directors for the United Way of Greater St. Louis from 2006 through 2008.  Steward received the National Urban League’s 2008 Business Pioneer Award; the St. Louis County Economic Council 2008 Dr. William D. Phillips Technology Award, presented to businesses and individuals applying science and technology to advance St. Louis’ global competitiveness and individual quality of life; and also was honored to write the foreword for the 2007-2008 edition of Who’s Who in Black St. Louis.  

In addition, Steward serves on numerous committees and boards, including Civic Progress of St. Louis; the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association; The Regional Business Council; Webster University; St. Louis Science Center; United Way of Greater St. Louis Executive Committee; The Greater St. Louis Area Council of Boy Scouts of America and the Harris-Stowe State University African American Business Leadership Council.  Steward is well-known for applying his strong faith to business. In 2004, Steward published DOING BUSINESS BY THE GOOD BOOK: Fifty-two Lessons on Success, Straight from the Bible with the foreword written by former President George H. W. Bush. Steward also had the honor of hosting former President George W. Bush at WWT headquarters in May 2008 to present a global economic speech.

A devoted family man, Steward and his wife of 33 years, Thelma, have three adult children: David II, Kimberly Steward Blackwell and son-in-law Jamil Blackwell.