Commencement Tip Sheet

Photo of the Show Me Center

Spring commencement at Southeast Missouri State University is planned for 2 p.m. May 12 in the Show Me Center.

Spring commencement at Southeast Missouri State University is planned for 2 p.m. May 12 in the Show Me Center. Several candidates for graduation have reported interesting feature stories about themselves that could be developed in connection with commencement. These story tips with contact names and phone numbers are listed below. Students will begin assembling for commencement at 1:15 p.m. in the Student Recreation Center. The Southeast News Bureau is happy to make arrangements for you to meet any of the graduates listed below between 1:15 and 1:30 p.m. May 12 in the Student Recreation Center. Please do not hesitate to call the News Bureau at (573) 651-2552 with any questions about these or other commencement stories.

Amy Henson of Poplar Bluff, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a master of business administration degree with a general management option. Henson was the first student to enroll in Southeast’s online MBA program, and she is the first student to graduate as well. The online MBA program was first available with the summer 2005 semester. Henson currently is the director of financial aid for Three Rivers Community College. “I loved the convenience and accessibility of the online classes,” she said. “It’s been great for my schedule, my family and where I live. I worked full time and drove to Southeast at night for a couple of semesters while working on my undergraduate degree, and that didn’t work out very well. This was so much nicer.” Henson can be reached at (573) 840-9606.

Aaron Wright of Jackson, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in unified science and emphasis in biology. His mother, Catherine Wright, will join him on stage, graduating with a bachelor of science degree with a major in administrative systems management and a minor in information systems. Catherine began her degree in the late 1970s and earned an associate degree in computer science, but could not afford to complete her bachelor’s degree at the time. After retiring during her son’s junior year at Southeast, she made the commitment to return to school and complete her degree, despite the fact that drastic changes in technology over the past three decades had made much of her previous education obsolete. “After working for 26 years, readjusting to school can be challenging, but my mother took this daunting task in stride and charged forward with zeal and enthusiasm, even giving me a run for my money on my GPA,” Aaron said. Aaron and Catherine also are the first two members from their family to attend college, and Aaron says he considers it an honor to do so together. “When we each embarked on our separate journeys to commencement, we had no idea it would match up perfectly and we would graduate on the same day,” he said. “I’ve never been so proud of my mom and so glad to be her son.” Aaron Wright can be reached at (573) 576-3720 and Catherine Wright can be reached at  (573) 225-3032.

Nick Adams of Fulton, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in finance. Adams was part of a team of four students that competed in an international case competition in Dublin, Ireland, earlier this year. Adams’ team was the only American team to compete at the final level of the competition, sponsored by the Network of International Business Schools. He can be reached at (573) 544-8989.

Kari Kitchen of Jackson, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in physical education. Kitchen’s family has a tradition pursuing degrees in physical education. Her husband, Tatum Kitchen, graduated in 2004 with a bachelor of science degree in physical education. His parents, Terry and Barbara Kitchen, and his uncle, Paul Kitchen, all earned physical education degrees from Southeast as well, making Kari the fifth Kitchen to graduate from Southeast with this degree. She can be reached at (573) 979-0028.

Ralph Palmer of New Madrid, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in chemistry. This is Palmer’s second degree from Southeast. He first graduated in 1982 with a communications degree and pursued a career in promotions. At age 45, he decided to go back to school to pursue his degree in chemistry. Palmer can be reached at (573) 748-5109.

Amy Sappington of Jackson, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a bachelor of science degree with a major in mass communication, an emphasis in public relations and a minor in social work. Sappington, who will be 19 at graduation, has completed her degree in two and one-half years. Her older sister will graduate at the same time with a master of arts degree in communication disorders. Her mother, Julie Sappington, is a faculty member in Southeast’s Department of Nursing. Amy Sappington can be reached at (573) 450-8316.

Jeannie Sullivan-Tackett of Doniphan, Mo., will graduate from Southeast with a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education. Sullivan-Tacket will be the first person in her family to graduate from college. Her mother was only able to attend school through the sixth grade in the Philippines, and her father graduated from high school in Doniphan, Mo., before enlisting in the Navy. Sullivan-Tackett graduated from Three Rivers Community College, but was unable to continue college after her father’s death. After her oldest son was born, she decided to complete her bachelor’s degree. She has been working and attending school full time for the past two and one-half years. “I owe my success to my mother, mother-in-law, sister, husband and children,” she said. “I know my father and father-in-law would be very proud of me and watching over me from heaven.” Sullivan-Tackett can be reached at (573) 996-4948.