641 to Receive Degrees at Winter Commencement

Photo of commencement speaker Thomas Hendrick

Thomas Hendrick

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Nov. 30, 2010 – A total of 641 students — 563 undergraduates and 78 graduate students — will receive their degrees at winter commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 18 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.

Thomas Hendrick, president of TCH Partners, Inc. will present the commencement address. TCH Partners, Inc. is a privately held development management services company specializing in high-end, luxury hotel/mixed use projects worldwide.  

An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 118 undergraduates, 27 students receiving master’s degrees and three students receiving specialist degrees will be honored.  Dr. Jeremy Barnes, professor of health, human performance and recreation, and winner of this year’s P.R.I.D.E. Award, will present the Honors Convocation address and will serve as the grand marshal during commencement.

Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 15 will graduate summa cum laude, 22 will graduate magna cum laude and 73 will graduate cum laude.  In addition, 27 master’s degree candidates and three specialist candidates 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 3.5 to 3.74. Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.

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 seven students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Among them are:

  • Kristie Bagwell of Poplar Bluff, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education, mathematics concentration.
  • Katie Buckley of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in music and a minor in anthropology.
  • Tara Delaney of Belton, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with an English major, writing option, and minors in small press publishing and psychology.
  • Elisabeth Holshouser of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology and a minor in family studies.
  • Weston Page of Oran, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in criminal justice, law enforcement option, and a minor in criminology.
  • Katherine Pratt of Sikeston, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in mass communication, television and film option, and a minor in historic preservation.
  • Melissa Farrah Yahn of Chaffee, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education, and a specialization in early childhood education.

Seven 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:Kristopher Baranovic of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of general studies degree with a minor in religion.They are:

  • Tara Delaney of Belton, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in  English, writing option, and minors in small press publishing and psychology.
  • Rachel Huebel of Cape Girardeau, who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with majors in Spanish and global studies, Hispanic option.
  • Seth Koehler of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option, and a minor in chemistry.
  • LeAnn Kuhlmann of Patton, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in social work.
  • Jason Phinney of Unionville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in historic preservation and a minor in political science.
  • Jason Pourney of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in agribusiness, horticulture option.

One student 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.  The student is:

  • Jason Phinney of Unionville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in historic preservation and a minor in political science.

Twenty-six 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 37 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, six 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 Brass Quintet coordinated by Marc Fulgham will perform during the commencement ceremony.  Singing the “The Star Spangled Banner” will be Edwin Williams. Rebecca Hatlelid and Katie Buckley will sing the “Alma Mater.”

This year’s commencement speaker, Thomas Hendrick, has 30 years of experience in the development of hotels, which includes more than 100 projects representing several billion dollars of asset value.

TCH Partners is acting as developer for the owners of the $400 million Mandarin Oriental/golf resort in Costa Rica.  The project includes the 135-room Mandarin Oriental resort with a 25,000-square-foot spa.   Included in the project is an 18-hole golf course designed by Fred Couples, 185 one-acre lots and 200 residential units.   

In addition, TCH Partners is co-developer with the owner/investor of two projects in Panama. The first is a $160 million, 400-room hotel with a 50,000-square-foot casino in Panama City.  The hotel is part of a larger mixed use project including a marina, two residential towers, retail space and a 125-room boutique hotel.  The other project is on an off-island, Isla del Rey, about 40 miles from Panama City.  A 120-room luxury resort/spa with 50 residential units is planned for the 230-acre site. THC is negotiating with major luxury brands on both developments.   

Hendrick previously was executive vice president of development (head of worldwide development) for The Kor Group, owners of the brands Viceroy and Tides hotels; vice president of development (head of development western hemisphere) for Mandarin Oriental Hotels; vice president (head of worldwide development) for Rosewood Hotels & Resorts; and vice president (head of worldwide development) for Regent Hotels, executive vice president (head of development and financing) for Mariner Hotels, presently Remington Hotels. 

He has been involved with all aspects of development, including initial due diligence, concept design, brand selection/negotiations, financing, development and opening.  He has represented both major hotel brands and private investors.   

In 2007, Hendrick was elected to the board of directors for FelCor, a publicly traded hotel Real Estate Investment Trust (REITs).  FelCor is the largest owner of upscale hotels and suites, with about 87 throughout the United States.  Previously, he was a director with Caribbean Latin America Action, an industry association based in Washington, D.C.

Hendrick has been interviewed by CNN’s “Moneyline,” and has spoken at numerous conferences. He holds a bachelor of science in business administration degree from Southeast Missouri State University and an MBA from the University of Northern Florida.  He served in the military as a Naval aviator with VA-66 aboard the USS Independence.  He and his wife Judy, who is the chief financial officer for Aimbridge Hospitality, live in Dallas, Texas, as does one daughter.