1,173 to Receive Degrees at Spring Commencement


Former DEA Operations Chief to Present Commencement Address

Photo of Michael Braun

Michael Braun, managing partner of Spectre Group International, LLC and former chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will deliver the commencement address.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

May 3, 2010 – A total of 1,173 students — 1,022 undergraduates and 151 graduate students — will receive their degrees at spring commencement exercises at 2 p.m. May 15 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.

Michael Braun, managing partner of Spectre Group International, LLC and former chief of operations for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), will deliver the commencement address. Spectre Group International, LLC is an international security consulting firm based in Alexandria, Va., with an office in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Braun, who retired from the DEA in October 2008 after 33 years in law enforcement, including 23 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration, was responsible for leading the worldwide drug enforcement operations of the DEA’s 227 domestic and 86 foreign offices, as well as the Special Operations Division, Aviation Division, Office of Financial Operations, the Office of Operational Support and The Office of Diversion Control.  He was appointed to this position in February 2005 and was the longest serving principal advisor to the DEA administrator on all enforcement-related matters. He became widely recognized during this era as an expert on the growing nexus between drugs and terrorism, and for focusing the Agency’s efforts on the Global War on Terrorism.

An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 277 undergraduates, 71 students  receiving master’s degrees and eight students receiving specialist degrees will be honored.  Sara Edgerton, the University’s 2009 recipient of the Faculty Merit Award and professor of music (cello and string bass) and artistic director of the Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, will present the Honors Convocation address and will serve as the grand marshal during commencement.

For families unable to attend the Honors Convocation or commencement exercises, a DVD or videotape copy of either ceremony may be ordered by contacting Dr. Jim Dufek, professor of mass communication, at (573) 651-2484.

Leading the class of undergraduates are 19 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Among them are:• Amy Albers of Okawville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting and a minor in finance.

• Sandra Blake of Kennewick, Wash., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting and a minor in economics.

• James Brandt of Belleville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.

• Karen Broemmelsick of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of fine arts degree with a major in art.

• Philip Brotherton of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with majors in music and Spanish.

• Kristin Buck of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.

• Molly Davis of Muncie, Ind., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in sport management and a minor in business administration.

• Allison Dohogne of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in English education.

• Kerrie Dudley of O’Fallon, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in Spanish and a minor in international studies.

• Kodie Edmonds of Anna, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies, fashion merchandising option and minors in retail management and marketing management.

• Lorna Ferguson of Anna, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education, language and literature specialization.

• Amanda Green of Chatham, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education, early childhood specialization.

• Brenna Kiser of Bonne Terre, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in English education.

• Teresa Koebbe of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in criminal justice, law enforcement option and a minor in information systems.

• Kelley Krengiel of Lemont, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in health management, exercise science option.

• Scott Schwiesow of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.

• Sarah Snyder of Swansea, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in social studies education.

• Andrew Wiese of Waterloo, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, general and microbiology, cellular and molecular biology and biotechnology options

• Amber Zeilenga of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education, mathematics specialization.

Nineteen honors scholars will be recognized in the graduating class. 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. They are:• Tiffany Amelunke of Delta, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.

• Joy Ashley of Tulsa, Okla., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in health management, exercise science option.

• Julie Bickers of Marion, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in nursing degree

• Emily Bowers of West Frankfort, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.

• Jessica Deaton of West Frankfort, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in criminal justice and a minor in chemistry.

• Karina Dewing of Rolla, Mo., who will who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English, writing option and a minor in small press publishing.

• Kodie Edmonds of Anna, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies, fashion merchandising option and minors in retail management and marketing management.

• Adam Gohn of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in philosophy and a minor in environmental science.

• Emily Huelsmann of Trenton, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders and a minor in developmental psychology.

• Yuko Inoguchi of Makinohara, Shizuoka, Japan, who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in health management, exercise science option.

• Kayla Mabery of Farmington, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.

• Kenna Moats of Edwardsville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders and a minor in entrepreneurship.

• Patrick Nakashima-Moran of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option and a minor in chemistry.

• Amy Nickless of Festus, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in history and a minor in political science.

• Scott Pauley of Piedmont, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in mathematics.

• Lauren Pollien of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in historic preservation and a minor in interior design.

• MaryAnn Rainwater of Puxico, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies, dietetics option.

• Sarah Snyder of Swansea, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in social studies education.

• Julie Weitzel of Eureka, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in Spanish education.

Seven students will graduate with academic distinction in their major department. 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.  They are:• Joe Blakemore of Campbell, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.

• Jonathan Kessler of Evansville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with majors in physics, engineering physics, applied physics option, and mathematics, applied mathematics option

• James Minner of Arnold, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies, family studies option and a minor in psychology.

• Amy Nickless of Festus, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in history and a minor in political science.

• Heather O’Connor of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option.

• Lauren Pollien of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in historic preservation and a minor in interior design.

• Caleb Tankersley of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English, writing option and a minor in small press publishing.

Ninety-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 82 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, 16 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 Paul Thompson will perform during the commencement ceremony.  Singing the “The Star Spangled Banner” and the “Alma Mater” will be Neal E. Boyd, a Southeast Missouri State alumnus who leapt to national and international fame last year with his stellar appearances on “America’s Got Talent.” 

Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 52 will graduate summa cum laude, 66 will graduate magna cum laude and 130 will graduate cum laude.  Seventy-nine 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

This year’s commencement speaker, Braun joined the DEA in 1985 after beginning his law enforcement career 11 years earlier with the Cape Girardeau Police Department and the Illinois State Police. In his first role with the DEA, he served as a special agent in the St. Louis Division.  From 1991 to 2001, Braun received several promotions and served in a number of progressively challenging assignments. In Latin America, he led specially trained and equipped host nation counterparts and DEA Special Agents on paramilitary drug enforcement operations in the jungles of South and Central America in support of U.S. foreign drug policy. In the Houston and Los Angeles Divisions, his teams targeted some of the world’s most notorious drug trafficking cartels and gangs. Braun also served two Headquarters tours during this period in supervisory and management assignments, including an appointment as executive assistant to the administrator.

In 2001, Braun was appointed to the Senior Executive Service (SES) and assigned as the special agent in charge of the Detroit Division, where he oversaw all of DEA’s operations and programs in Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky. In June 2003, shortly after the Iraq invasion by U.S. and coalition partners, he was sent to the Department of Defense to serve on special assignment in Iraq as the Chief of Staff for the Interim Ministry of Interior, Coalition Provisional Authority. He assisted in creating the new Iraqi National Police Service and Customs and Borders agencies, and with developing plans to rebuild the public safety segment of the Iraqi security infrastructure.

From December 2003 to 2005, Braun headed the multi-agency Office of Special Intelligence and later led the entire Intelligence Division. He was also appointed by the deputy attorney general to serve as the first interim director of a new Department of Justice Drug Intelligence Fusion Center that supports the nation’s war on terrorism and drugs. Braun was responsible for the formative design of this very successful, multi-agency initiative.

Braun enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps after high school and served from 1971 to 1973 as an infantryman, including service in the Republic of Vietnam. He served in the ranks of both local and state law enforcement for 11 years before joining DEA.

Braun earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice in 1977 from Southeast Missouri State University. He has attended a number of government, military, and private leadership courses, including the Senior Managers in Government Program at Harvard University and the National Executive Institute. Braun has received numerous awards and commendations during his career, including the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award in 2007 and the Presidential Rank Award in 2006. In 2008, he was awarded the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Medal and the U.S. Coast Guard Commandant’s Distinguished Public Service Award. 

Congress continues to call upon Braun to testify about international and domestic drug trafficking, and the growing involvement of designated foreign terrorist organizations in the global drug trade, as well as other national security topics.  He has been featured several times on international and national television, including Fox, CNN, CNN International, CBS, NBC, ABC, BBC, CBC and Voice of America Television to name a few, and has been interviewed many times by the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Washington Times, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Men’s Journal and several others, including the international print media.