815 Students to Receive Degrees at Southeast Winter Commencement

Photo of Stephen Limbaugh Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri.

Stephen Limbaugh Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri, will present the winter commencement address Dec. 20.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Dec. 8, 2008 – A total of 815 students – 690 undergraduates and 125 graduate students — will receive their degrees at winter commencement exercises at 2 p.m., Dec. 20 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State.

Presenting the commencement address will be Stephen Limbaugh Jr., U.S. District Judge for the Eastern District of Missouri. Limbaugh was sworn into his position in August after serving as a judge on the Supreme Court of Missouri for 16 years, including a two-year term as Chief Justice.

An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 151 undergraduates, 37 graduate students and seven students receiving specialist degrees will be honored. Dr. Ragu Athinarayanan, professor of industrial and engineering technology and winner of this year’s P.R.I.D.E. Award, will present the Honors Convocation address.

Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 29 will graduate summa cum laude, 31 will graduate magna cum laude and 82 will graduate cum laude. Students graduating summa cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0. Students graduating magna cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89. The required undergraduate grade point average for graduating cum laude is 3.5 to 3.74. Thirty-seven master’s degree candidates and seven specialist candidates will graduate with honors.  Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.

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

• Natalie Bachmann of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology and a minor in social work.

• Natasha Bennett of Xenia, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education and a specialization in early childhood education.

• Maureen Grimaldi of Kansas City, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of general studies degree with minors in art and Spanish.

• Melissa Keith of Poplar Bluff, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in nursing degree with a major in nursing.

• Jessica Livingston of Whitewater, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies with an option in interior design and a minor in architectural design.

• Kimberly Martin of Ferguson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in nursing degree with a major in nursing and a minor in nutrition.

• Kelly Pollock of Columbia, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in biology degree with a major in wildlife and conservation biology.

• Marissa Robey of Bloomfield, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in mass communication, journalism option, and a bachelor of science degree with a major in mass communication, public relations option, and a minor in graphic communication technology.

• Jennifer Schuchmann of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education with a concentration in math.

• Amy West of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in health management with an option in exercise science. Two students will be recognized as honors 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.  Those being recognized as honors scholars are:

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

• Jessica Weatherly of Potosi, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies.

Six 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:

• Natalie Bachmann of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology and a minor in social work.

• Patrick Christian of Oakley, Calif., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in criminal justice, law enforcement option, and a minor in criminology.

• Lucas Presson of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in communication studies and a minor in chemistry.

• Chasity Ratliff of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology and a minor in philosophy.

• Amon Seabaugh of Leopold, Mo, who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in agribusiness with an option in agriculture industry.

Thirty-one 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 36 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 Missouri State University Brass Quintet, along with Dr. Marc Fulgham, professor of music, will perform during the commencement ceremony.  Singing the “The Star Spangled Banner” and the “Alma Mater” will be Dr. Timothy Schmidt, assistant professor of music. Athinarayanan will serve as the grand marshal.

The commencement speaker, Limbaugh, is a 1970 graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School, earned a bachelor of arts degree in history in 1973 and a juris doctor degree in 1976, both from Southern Methodist University. In 1988, he earned a master of laws degree in judicial process from the University of Virginia.

Limbaugh began his career in 1977 as an associate in the family law firm of Limbaugh, Limbaugh and Russell in Cape Girardeau. In 1978, he was elected Prosecuting Attorney of Cape Girardeau County, and at the end of his four-year term, he returned to private practice in the family firm. In 1987, he was appointed Circuit Judge of the 32nd Judicial Circuit of Missouri, and later was twice elected to that office without opposition. He served as Circuit Judge until his appointment to the Supreme Court in 1992.

Limbaugh is an active member of many professional, civic and charitable organizations and is a lifelong member of the United Methodist Church. He is a frequent speaker and presenter for bar associations, law schools, civic groups and service clubs, and he is the recipient of numerous awards and honors.

Limbaugh is the first resident U.S. District Judge in the new Rush Hudson Limbaugh Sr. United States Courthouse in Cape Girardeau, which his named after his grandfather.