1,348 to Receive Degrees at Spring Commencement

Graduation three gradsCAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 15, 2014 – A total of 1,348 students – 1,092 undergraduate and 256 master’s and specialist students – will receive degrees at Southeast Missouri State University’s spring commencement exercises at 2 p.m. May 17 in the Show Me Center.

Dr. Muriel Howard, president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), will deliver the commencement address.

Twenty-seven undergraduate students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average will be honored at commencement.

Prior to the commencement ceremony, an Honors Convocation will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center to honor 422 undergraduates. Dr. Walt Lilly will present the Honors Convocation address. Lilly is a professor in the Department of Biology at Southeast and is the 2013 recipient of the University’s PRIDE Award.

Among the undergraduate students at the Honors Convocation, 70 students will graduate summa cum laude (3.9 to 4.0 cumulative grade point average); 102 will graduate magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.89 cumulative grade point average); and 194 will graduate cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 cumulative grade point average).

Also at the Honors Convocation, eight students will be recognized for graduating with Academic Distinction, and 43 will be recognized as Honors Scholars. Graduating members of three honor societies will be recognized as well, including 105 from Phi Eta Sigma, 96 from Phi Kappa Phi and 30 from Omicron Delta Kappa.

The Southeast Missouri Symphony Orchestra, under the director of Sara Edgerton, professor of music, will perform during the ceremony. Riley Camp of Bonne Terre will sing the “Star Spangled Banner, and Joseph Moore of Cape Girardeau will sing the “Alma Mater.”

howard muriel croppedDr. Muriel Howard, the commencement speaker, became the first African-American to lead one of the six presidentially based higher education associations in Washington, D.C., in April 2009. She is also the first female president of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

As AASCU president, Howard is an advocate for public higher education at the national level working to influence federal policy and regulations on behalf of member colleges and universities. In her role, she serves as a resource to presidents and chancellors as they address state policy and emerging campus issues. She develops collaborative partnerships and initiatives that advance public higher education; directs a strategic agenda that focuses on public college and university leadership for the 21st century; and provides professional development opportunities for presidents, chancellors and their spouses.

As a college president, Howard was an active member of AASCU for many years. Her volunteer involvement with AASCU included serving as chair of the board of directors (2006-2007) and committee and commission memberships that include the Voluntary System of Accountability Presidential Advisory Committee, the Millennium Leadership Initiative, the Commission of Public University Renewal, and the Alliance for Regional Stewardship. Howard continues to serve as a faculty member for AASCU’s New Presidents’ Academy.

Her professional and scholarly interests include educational leadership, women and minorities in the academy, and a long-standing personal commitment to public service. Howard serves on a number of boards including Air University (Chair-Elect); the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance; National Advisory Board of the National Survey of Student Engagement; Merchants Insurance Company; and Association Mutual Health Insurance Company.

Prior to her position with the AASCU, Howard served as president of the Buffalo State College, State University of New York from 1996 to 2009. There, she led a campus of more than 11,000 students, approximately 1,700 faculty and staff, and a financial operation of more than $214 million.  Prior to joining Buffalo State, Howard served as vice president for public service and urban affairs at the University of Buffalo, State University of New York, where she served in various leadership capacities over a 23-year period.

Howard holds a master’s degree in education from the City University of New York’s Richmond College and a doctor of philosophy in educational organization, administration and policy from the University at Buffalo. Howard also earned a certificate from the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University, has received six honorary degrees and many awards for her contributions to public higher education, for service to the community and for her commitment to diversity.