1,044 Students to Participate in Spring Commencement

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., April 29, 2005ᾰOne thousand forty-four students will participate in commencement exercises May 14 at Southeast Missouri State University. 

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder will present the commencement address during exercises scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Show Me Center.  Participating in the ceremony will be 882 undergraduate and 162 graduate students.  An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 228 undergraduate and 59 graduate students will be honored.  Dr. Bill Ellis, professor of agriculture at Southeast, will present the Honors Convocation address.

Leading the class of undergraduates are 12 students with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

They are:

  • Michelle Carlson of Eden Prairie, Minn., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology and minors in music and literature.
  • Dustin Cook of Hartville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in anthropology and a minor in French.
  • Jennifer Cross of Wildwood, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in exceptional child education., and a bachelor of general studies degree.
  • Kari Gaskill of Millersville, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.
  • Billy Griffin of Bernie, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science degree with a major in industrial technology and an emphasis in construction management and design.
  • Angela Hotop of Perryville, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in marketing and a minor in mass communication.
  • Kimberly Krieger of Beaufort, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in physical education.
  • Scott Lane of Jackson, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in finance and a minor in economics.
  • Shannon Neier of Union, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders.
  • Amanda Peterman of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in mass communication with an emphasis in journalism and a bachelor of science degree in human environmental studies with an emphasis in fashion merchandising and a minor in marketing and retail management.
  • Nicole Ray of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing degree.
  • Lauren Sims of Springfield, Ill., who will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in music and a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology.

Three honors scholars will be recognized in the graduating class. They are Dustin Cook of Hartville, Mo.; Matthew Hoernig of Perryville, Mo., and Amber Smith of Godfrey, Ill.  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.

Six students will graduate with academic distinction in their major department.  They are Jennifer Arnold of Springfield, Ill.; Timothy Capps of Karnak, Ill; and Michelle Carlson of Eden Prairie, Minn., all of whom will be recognized for academic distinction in the Department of Biology; Dustin Cook of Hartville, Mo., and Adam Schaefer of Fenton, Mo., who will be recognized for academic distinction in the Department of Foreign Languages and Anthropology; and Dawn Ernst of Jackson, Mo., who will be recognized for academic distinction in the Department of Political Science.

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.

Seventy 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 first 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.

In addition, eight members of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni, will graduate.  Students inducted in Omicron Delta Kappa are juniors, seniors and graduate students who are in the upper one-third of their class and who have demonstrated achievement in one of the following areas:  scholarship; athletics; campus and community service, social and religious activities, and 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. 

Also graduating will be 53 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 scholarship 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.

The Southeast Chamber Orchestra, under the direction of Dr. Sara Edgerton, will perform during the commencement ceremony.  Singing the National Anthem will be Rebekah Hunt of Antioch, Ill., who will graduate with a bachelor of music in education degree with a major in music. Lauren Sims of Springfield, Ill., will sing the Alma Mater.  Sims will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in music and a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology.  Dr. Bill Ellis, professor of agriculture, and the 2004 Faculty Merit Award recipient, will serve as the grand marshal. 

Among the undergraduates participating in the honors convocation, 36 will graduate summa cum laude, 61 will graduate magna cum laude, 120 will graduate cum laude, and two will graduate with honors in associate degrees.  The required undergraduate grade point average for graduating cum laude is 3.5 to 3.74.  Students graduating magna cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89.  Students graduating summa cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0.  Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.

In addition to the graduates, 12 alumni of Southeast Missouri State will be honored with the 2005 Young Alumni Merit Awards during commencement exercises.  The award, presented by the Southeast Missouri State University Alumni Association, is given annually to honor those alumni under the age of 37 who have brought distinction to the University through professional growth, service and individual character.  The Alumni Association at Southeast honors distinguished young alumni from each college by presenting them with the Young Alumni Merit Award.The recipients and the college presenting each award are as follows:

  • Lynese Cargill Hoffman of Chesterfield, Mo., executive vice president and chief financial officer of Common Ground Public Relations, Donald L. Harrison College of Business
  • Jason Crowell of Cape Girardeau, Mo., Missouri state senator for the 27th Senatorial district, Donald L. Harrison College of Business
  • Ginger Schwab of Sanford, Fla., teacher in the K-5 Space Science in the Goldsboro Elementary Magnet School Space Lab with NASA, College of Education
  • Samantha Blankenship of Arnold, Mo., research assistant and study monitor for Treatment of Early Age Mania (TEAM) at Washington University’s School of Medicine, College of Education
  • Dr. Michelle Redfearn of Riverside, Mo., clinical research coordinator and clinical instructor for The Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, College of Health and Human Services
  • Michelle Behnken Brune of Cape Girardeau, Mo., assistant professor in the Housing and Interior Design program in the Department of Human Environmental Studies at Southeast, College of Health and Human Services
  • Shawn Grindstaff of Columbia, Ill., principal and senior mediator for The Forrester Group, College of Liberal Arts
  • Jeffrey Davis of Jefferson City, Mo., chairman of the Missouri Public Service Commission, College of Liberal Arts
  • Dr. Clay Corbin of Bloomsburg, Pa., assistant professor of biology at Bloomsburg Pa. University, College of Science and Mathematics
  • Dr. Chris Wright of Easton, Pa., a senior chemist for Exxon Mobil corporate strategic research, College of Science and Mathematics
  • Geoffrey Parker of Jackson, Mo., vice president of First Missouri State Bank, School of Polytechnic Studies
  • Matthew Modica of Arnold, Mo., senior project leader and limited partner for Edward Jones Headquarters, School of Polytechnic Studies

 The commencement speaker, Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, was elected as Missouri’s lieutenant governor in November.  Kinder previously served more than 10 years as a Missouri state senator.  In 1996, he was named chairman of the Education Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a Washington, D.C.-based association of state legislators.  In 2001, Kinder was elected president pro tem, the top elected official in the Missouri Senate, and led this body for four years during some of the toughest budget times in Missouri history.

Kinder is chair of the Missouri Senior Rx Prescription Drug Program; a member of the Tourism Commission and the Government Reform Commission; and co-chair of the Personal Independence Commission.

Kinder grew up in Cape Girardeau, attending Cape Girardeau Public Schools and continuing his education at Southeast and the University of Missouri-Columbia.  He graduated from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas, in 1979 and was admitted to the Missouri Bar in 1980.

From 1981 to 1983, Kinder served as a member of U.S. Rep. Bill Emerson’s Washington, D.C., staff and then worked as an attorney and real estate representative for Drury Industries.  In 1987, he became associate publisher of the Southeast Missourian newspaper, writing weekly editorials through 2002. 

 Throughout his years of service, Kinder has received numerous awards and honors including:  the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1995; the Guardian of Small Business Award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses and recognition by the Missouri State Medical Association for dedication to improving health care in 1996; the Voice of Missouri Business Award from the Associated Industries of Missouri in 1996 and 2001; the Legislative Award from the St. Louis Business Journal in 1996, 2003 and 2004; and the Distinguished Service Award from the Alumni Association and the March of Dimes Award for continued commitment to infant healthcare in 2004.