‘Father of Agricultural Biotechnology’ to Speak at Southeast Commencement

1,043 Students to Receive Degrees

Photo of Dr. Jerry Caulder.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., May 1, 2007 – Dr. Jerry Caulder, a Southeast Missouri State University alumnus who is often referred to as the “Father of Agricultural Biotechnology,” will speak at commencement exercises at 2 p.m. May 12 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.

Caulder has had an unparalleled record of success in the life science industry. A native of Gideon, Mo., he grew up on a cotton farm and continues to own and operate the family farm there. After graduating from Southeast with a bachelor of science degree, he went on to earn both a master of science and a doctoral degree in plant physiology and agronomy from the University of Missouri.

“The most rewarding thing about what I do is being involved in a technology that creates products which really make a difference in our society – from new drugs and medical devices to improvements in our food chain,” Caulder said.

Participating in commencement ceremonies at Southeast May 12 will be 897 undergraduates and 146 graduate students. An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 258 undergraduates, 56 graduate students and six students receiving specialist degrees will be honored. Dr. Martin Jones, dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts, will present the Honors Convocation address.

University officials say parking for commencement and honors ceremonies at the Show Me Center will be somewhat limited due to two nearby construction sites. Shuttles will run from several other University parking lots, and will be available to return commencement guests to their vehicles until the last guest has left the premises. For up-to-the-minute parking information, visitors are asked to tune to KDMC 103.7 FM between noon and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12. The broadcast is provided courtesy of the student group, National Broadcasting Society, and will include parking information and directions as well as music.

Leading the class of undergraduates are 19 students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. They are:

  • Phyllis Amelunke of Chaffee, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.
  • Malene Damsted of Roedding, Denmark, who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in financial economics.
  • Jason Forys of Nashville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology.
  • Joshua Hanner of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in economics.
  • Ashley Johnson of East Prairie, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with majors in middle school and English education.
  • Abbi Kimmel of Pinckneyville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in business education.
  • Misty McDaniel of Kennett, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in communication disorders.
  • Michael Nadeau of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in physics.
  • Carolyn Norrenberns of Mascoutah, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in mass communication with an advertising option.
  • Jennifer Pajda of Darien, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a double major in applied mathematics and economics.
  • Lauren Peranich of O’Fallon, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in health management with an exercise science option.
  • Nathan Ray of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a double major in computer science and mathematics.
  • Diane Riley of St. Louis, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a double major in historic preservation and human environmental studies with the housing and interior design option.
  • David Schmitz of Rolla, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in philosophy.
  • Emily Seiler of Benton, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in family and consumer science education degree.
  • Judith Slaughter of Dexter, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of general studies degree.
  • Bethany St. Mary of Portageville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.
  • Jill Wehrheim of Red Bud, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in interdisciplinary studies.
  • Rose Wildhaber of Germantown, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.

Seven honors scholars will be recognized in the graduating class. They are:

  • Christopher Adams of Ironton, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in philosophy.
  • Angela Barbeau of Belleville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English with a writing option.
  • Doris Dorlac of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology.
  • Darby Hettenhausen of Freeburg, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a double major in psychology and biology.
  • Daniel Matlach of Fenton, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in interdisciplinary studies.
  • Jennifer Pajda of Darien, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a double major in applied mathematics and economics.
  • Christian Raschke of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in economics.
  •  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.

Eight students will graduate with academic distinction in their major department. They are:

  • Marcus Cuff of Collinsville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology as well as a bachelor of arts degree with a major in chemistry.
  • Doris Dorlac of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology.
  • Sherri Fitts of Sikeston, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology.
  • Jason Forys of Nashville, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology.
  • Crystal McLain of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a double major in psychology and criminal justice.
  • Michael Nadeau of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in physics.
  • Dawn Stricklin of Middlebrook, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in anthropology.
  • Cynthia Ulrich of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in interdisciplinary studies.

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.

Eighty-seven 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.

In addition, 19 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 areas: scholarship; athletics; campus and community services; social and religious activities; 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.

Also graduating will be 69 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 Chamber Orchestra will perform during the commencement ceremony. Singing the National Anthem and Alma Mater will be Dr. Leslie Jones, associate professor of music. Dr. Martha Zlokovich, chair of Southeast’s Faculty Senate, will serve as the grand marshal.

Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 59 will graduate summa cum laude, 73 will graduate magna cum laude and 126 will graduate cum laude.

The required undergraduate grade point average for graduating cum laude is 3.5 to 3.74. Students graduating magna cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89. Students graduating summa cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0. Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.

The commencement speaker, Caulder, is currently a founding partner, chairman and chief executive officer of Finistere, LLC. He has been the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of several biotechnology companies in agriculture, human health, medical devices and consumer products: Mycogen Inc.; Mycogen Seed Co.; Myelos Neurosciences; Athenix, Inc.; Chlorogen, Inc.; Entomos, Inc.; S&M NuTech.; Never Compromise, Inc.; and Advanced Stent Technologies, Inc.; and others.

Caulder is former three-times chairman of the Industrial Biotechnology Association, a predecessor to the Biotechnology Industry Association (BIO) and has served on BIO’s board of directors and chaired its Food and Agriculture Section. BioCom awarded him the James McGraw Award, their highest honor. He has served on and chaired several committees of the U.S. Office of Technology Assessment, given expert testimony before both houses of Congress and advised foreign governments on agriculture and biotechnology. He has been an advisor and speaker to numerous organizations, including the Brookings Institute, The Keystone Group and the World Economic Forum. In addition, Caulder has been profiled in various magazines and newspapers such as Forbes and USA Today. He is frequently quoted in the national media as an expert in the life sciences.

Caulder has received the William Henry Hatch Memorial Award, from the National Association of Land Grant Universities and Colleges. He has been honored as Man of the Year in Service to Agriculture by Progressive Farmer magazine and he has served as the D.W. Brooks lecturer at the University of Georgia. He was elected to the National FFA’s Hall of Achievement. Caulder has been honored with the Citation of Merit Award and the Faculty Merit Award from Southeast Missouri State University. The University of Missouri awarded him an honorary Doctorate of Science degree and their Alumnus of the Year award. The National Forum of Agriculture awarded Caulder the prestigious Agricultural Vision Award.

Caulder is a member of the Advisory Council on Small Business and Agriculture of the Federal Reserve Board of San Francisco, Calif., a member of California and Missouri Governors’ Councils on Science and Technology and a former trustee of the Reuben H. Fleet Space Center in San Diego, Calif. He served as one of the founding directors of the World Agriculture Forum in St. Louis, Mo. In addition to this impressive list of accomplishments, Caulder is also the holder of several U.S. and foreign patents.