Swan to Present Address at Southeast Commencement Dec. 15

Photo of Kaythryn Swan.

Kathryn Swan, chair of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and president and owner of JCS/TEL-LINK in Cape Girardeau.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Dec. 5, 2007 – Kathryn Swan, chair of the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education and president and owner of JCS/TEL-LINK in Cape Girardeau, will speak at commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 15 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University.

Swan was appointed in 2003 to serve on the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education. Gov. Matt Blunt reappointed her to the post in 2005. She holds associate of arts and bachelor of science degrees in nursing from Southeast. Her company has offices throughout Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Participating in commencement ceremonies at Southeast Dec. 15 will be 531 undergraduates and 72 master’s and specialists candidates. An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 144 undergraduates, 29 graduate students and four students receiving specialist degrees will be honored. Dr. Marcia Nahikian-Nelms, professor of nutrition and dietetics in the Department of Human Environmental Studies and director of the didactic program in dietetics at Southeast and this year’s PRIDE Award recipient, will present the Honors Convocation address.

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

  • Jenna Christisen of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in management.
  • Dharshaka Dias of Sri Lanka, who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in applied mathematics and statistics and minors in computer science and engineering physics.
  • Michelle Gray of Marble Hill, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.
  • Brie McDonald of Quincy, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in human environmental studies-hospitality management.
  • Michele Metych of Chicago, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English-writing option and minors in small press publishing and criminal justice.
  • Brittany Newell of Perryville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology and a minor in communication for the legal professional.
  • Sarah Verelst of Washington, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in psychology.

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

  • Meredith Heaton of Kirkwood, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology and minors in Spanish and art.
  • Megan Salmi of St. Charles, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in English education, and a minor in French.
  • Corey King of Columbia, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biology and a minor in English.
  • Michele Metych of Chicago, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in English-writing option and minors in small press publishing and criminal justice.
  • Jean Domagni of the Ivory Coast in Africa, who will receive a bachelor of science degree with majors in pure mathematics, applied mathematics and computer science.

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.

Thirty-one graduating members of Phi Kappa Phi also will be recognized during commencement exercises. Phi Kappa Phi is an international academic honor society 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, four 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 and leadership in collegiate activities.

Also graduating will be 44 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.

Dr. Marc Fulgham and the Southeast Missouri State University Brass Quintet will perform during the commencement ceremony. Singing the National Anthem and Alma Mater will be Dr. Christopher Goeke, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music. Nahikian-Nelms will serve as the grand marshal.

Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 25 will graduate summa cum laude, 41 will graduate magna cum laude and 78 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.

Swan, the commencement speaker, is a member of the USMSS Association, Great Lakes MSS Association, National Federation of Independent Business, NFIB Leadership Trust, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Leadership Missouri Alumni Association.  She is a former chairman of the Board of Great Lakes MSS Association, vice chairman of the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, and board secretary of Sigma Theta Tau at Southeast Missouri State University.

Statewide, she serves as a member of the P-20 Council, a member of the Board of Directors of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; chair of the Leadership Council of NFIB Missouri; member of the Education Council Administrative Committee of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry; board member of the Math, Engineering, Technology and Science (METS) Alliance appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt; and member of the Children’s Educational Alliance.  She is a former board member of the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA).   

Locally, Swan is a board member of United Way of Southeast Missouri, member of the Government and Public Policy and the Leadership Development Committees of the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau Area.  She is a former vice chair of the Saint Francis Medical Center Foundation board, former commissioner of the city of Cape Girardeau Planning & Zoning Commission, former member of the Catholic Campus Ministry Advisory board at Southeast Missouri State University, past vice president of Cape Girardeau Board of Education, past president of the Zonta Club of Cape Girardeau Area, past board president of the American Heart Association and former board member of the American Cancer Society. In addition, she serves as the governor-elect of District 7 of Zonta Club International. In 2002, former Gov. Holden appointed Swan to serve as a member of the Missouri Business Education Roundtable. U.S. Representative Jo Ann Emerson appointed Swan to represent the Eighth Congressional District on the Missouri Congressional Awards Council in October 2005. Recently, she was appointed to serve as treasurer for Team Emerson.  

Swan has received the Vision 2000 Award of Distinction in 1998, 2000 and 2002; Zonta Woman of Achievement Award; Girl Scouts 2002 Women’s Impact Award; Community Counseling Center Outstanding Achievement Award; Dr. A.M. Estes Award from the American Heart Association; and 2001 Volunteer of the Year from the American Cancer Society. She was the first recipient of the Outstanding Leadership Cape Girardeau Alumni Award in 2004. 

In addition, she has been featured by KFVS-TV and the Southeast Missourian regarding women in business. In January 2003, as one of four small business owners, she served as a roundtable participant lead by President George Bush focusing on the role of small business in stimulating the nation’s economy, followed by an invitation from President Bush to the White House for the signing of the Jobs and Growth bill.  In the same year, as one of 20 small business owners, she served as a roundtable participant lead by U.S. Secretary of Labor, Elaine Chao discussing small business issues.  

Swan’s company has received the 1997 Small Business of the Year Award from the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce, 2003 Motorola Pinnacle Award and the 2003 Verizon Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Swan’s husband, Reg, is also a Southeast alumnus. They are the parents of a son, Regan, and daughter, Maria Childress.