656 to Receive Degrees at Fall Commencement

Retired Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn to Deliver Commencement Address

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Dec. 1, 2011 — Southeast Missouri State University will hold winter commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 17 in the Show Me Center during which 656 students–543 undergraduates and 113 graduate students will receive degrees.

Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn, retired director of the Army National Guard of the United States and a 1968 graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, will deliver the commencement address.

An Honors Convocation will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center to honor 135 undergraduates, 39 students receiving master’s degrees and 10 students receiving specialist degrees. Dr. Susan Swartwout will present the Honors Convocation address. Swartwout, professor of English at Southeast and publisher and editor of the Southeast Missouri State University Press, will serve as grand marshal during commencement. Swartwout is the 2011 recipient of Southeast’s Faculty Merit Award and the 2011 Provost’s Research, Instruction and Development for Excellence (PRIDE) Award.

Among the undergraduate students honored at the Honors Convocation, 24 students will graduate summa cum laude, 27 will graduate magna cum laude and 76 will graduate cum laude. 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 cumulative 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.

Of the 49 graduate and specialist students at the Convocation, 41 will graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.

For families unable to attend or for those who wish to preserve the moment, a DVD copy of either the Honors Convocation or commencement ceremony may be ordered by contacting Dr. Jim Dufek at (573) 651-2484. The DVD copies include “senior shoutouts” which are brief prerecorded messages from various graduates to friends and family. “Senior shoutouts” also are aired on monitors on the Show Me Center concourses prior to commencement.

The class of undergraduates includes 10 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Among them are:

  • Melody Brewen of Fredericktown, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in agribusiness, horticulture option.
  • Catherine Brown of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in economics, financial economics option.
  • Benjamin Castelli of Imperial, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting.
  • Hannah Drury of St. Charles, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in psychology and a minor in social work.
  • Devon Pickering of Unionville, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in agribusiness, plant and soil science option.
  • Elizabeth Ray of Benton, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in recreation.
  • Charlotte Schaffner of Cape Girardeau, who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in human environmental studies, dietetics option.
  • Stephanie Schwartz of Quincy, Ill., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in historic preservation and a minor in architectural design.
  • Christa Soekamto of Grapevine, Texas, who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in biology, biomedical sciences option, and a minor in chemistry.
  • Amy Strawhun of Florissant, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in elementary education and a minor in social studies.

The Jane Stephens Honors Program will recognize seven students graduating as honor scholars. 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. The honors scholars include:

  • Zarah Ahmad of Grand Chain, Ill., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in physics and a minor in mathematics.
  • Lauren Beauchamp of Troy, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in elementary education, language and literature specialization.
  • Benjamin Castelli of Imperial, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in accounting.
  • Lauren Heidbrink of Edwardsville, Ill., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Education with a major in exceptional child.
  • Abigail Oaks of Springfield, Ill., who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a major in nursing.
  • Devon Pickering of Unionville, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in agribusiness, plant and soil science option.
  • Stephanie Schwartz of Quincy, Ill., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in historic preservation and a minor in architectural design.

The graduating class includes one student graduating with academic distinction in the major department. Students who graduate with “Academic Distinction in the Department of Major” complete a special project in conjunction with a faculty committee. 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. Graduating with academic distinction in the major department is:

  • Stephanie Schwartz of Quincy, Ill., who will receive a Bachelor of Science with a major in historic preservation and a minor in architectural design.

The honor society of Phi Kappa Phi will recognize 34 graduating members during the 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.

A total of 79 members of Phi Eta Sigma will also be recognized. 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.

Also graduating will be seven members of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni. 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, under the leadership of Dr. Marc Fulgham, professor of music, will perform during the commencement ceremony. Singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the “Alma Mater” will be Melody Stone, a graduating Southeast student from Cape Girardeau, who will receive a Bachelor of Music with a performance major, vocal option, and a minor in French.

The commencement speaker, Vaughn, retired as the director of the Army National Guard in July 2009 after nearly 40 years of service to the Guard and the U.S. Army. As director of the Army National Guard — a force of over 350,000 Soldiers in the 54 states, territories, and the District of Columbia — Vaughn guided the formulation, development and implementation of all programs and policies affecting the Army Guard. He built an innovative and highly successful recruiting program; undertook the changes necessary to raise Army National Guard combat readiness levels to all time highs; enabled the Army National Guard to meet all wartime and deployment requirements, deploying more than 300,000 soldiers; guided the deployment of Army National Guard soldiers to hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the Southwest Border; and developed several innovative programs such as the Afghanistan Agriculture Development Teams.

Among the unique approaches to the challenge of recruiting 70,000 new soldiers a year were establishing a National Guard High School Academy in Indiana, and a GED institution in Arkansas. These schools were for nationwide, high potential, high school dropouts who desired to join the Army National Guard and serve their country.

Vaughn was commissioned through the Missouri National Guard Officer Candidate School program in 1974 and served in a wide variety of command and staff positions as a traditional Guardsman and on active duty. He also served extensively in Central and South America on several deployed task forces.

His general officer assignments were as deputy director of operations, Readiness, and mobilization and deputy director of military support under the G3 of the U.S. Army, deputy director of the Army National Guard, assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters, and director of the Army National Guard from June 2005 to July 2009.

Vaughn has received the Army Distinguished Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Defense Superior Service Medal, and the Legion of Merit with four Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. In 2006, he was honored with the Alumni Merit Award by Southeast Missouri State University. In 2010 he was awarded the McLain Medal by the Association of the U.S. Army, which is awarded to one Army National Guard Soldier each year.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from Southeast Missouri State University and a Master of Public Administration from Shippensburg (Pa.) University. His professional military education includes the United States Army Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., and the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pa.

Vaughn grew up in Dexter, Mo. He met and married Carol Westrich of Cape Girardeau while attending Southeast. They have two children, Kristi and Chad, and four grandchildren. Vaughn and Carol, his wife of 44 years, currently reside in Winchester, Va.