Southeast Missouri State University will hold its spring commencement ceremonies May 13 during which 1,370 students – 1,036 undergraduates and 334 master’s degree and specialist candidates – will receive their degrees.
For the first time, Southeast will hold two commencement ceremonies — both a morning and afternoon event, both in the Show Me Center. Candidates in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Health and Human Services will participate in a ceremony at 10 a.m. Candidates in the College of Business, College of Education and College of Science, Technology and Agriculture will take part in a 2 p.m. ceremony.
Louise Bodenheimer, professor of art, will deliver the 10 a.m. address, and Dr. Julie Ray, chair of the Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education, will present the 2 p.m. address.
The shift to two ceremonies comes amid growing concerns of overcrowding of both graduates and their guests. The two events also are expected to offer smaller, shorter and more personal ceremonies.
In total, 343 students will graduate with honors — 82 will graduate summa cum laude (3.9 to 4.0 cumulative grade point average); 97 will graduate magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.89 cumulative grade point average); 163 will graduate cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 cumulative grade point average); and one will graduate with honors in associate degrees. Beginning this semester, students who have earned Latin Honors, Academic Distinction in the Department of the Major or completed the Jane Stephens Honors Program, will have that information displayed below their name on the scoreboard as they cross the stage during their commencement ceremony, as well as printed in the program.
Southeast President Carlos Vargas will congratulate 30 students graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average, 46 Honors Scholars and 10 Presidential Ambassadors at a recognition event at noon May 13 in the west gym of the Student Recreation Center.
Louise Bodenheimer, professor and area head of graphic design in the Department of Art, came to Southeast from south Louisiana in 1992. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in graphic design, a Master of Fine Arts in painting and a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting, all from Louisiana Tech University. Bodenheimer completed coursework at the Louisiana Tech-Rome program at the young age of 17. She also completed post-baccalaureate coursework at Louisiana State University and the University of New Orleans.
Prior to coming to Southeast, she taught at McNeese State University, Louisiana State University, and in the Monroe City Schools Talented Art High School Program. At Southeast she teaches all courses in graphic design and illustration and a Computer Art Summer Workshop. She has created numerous design commissions for the community and University and has exhibited her work in solo and group shows on national and regional levels. Her recent work includes the award-winning design for the School of Visual and Performing Arts River Campus Summer Arts Festival. Many of her students have gained employment in graphic design positions and/or been accepted into graduate school programs. Her students have won awards for their design coursework and from “real-client” collaborations with students in the Department of Marketing here at Southeast.
Bodenheimer is also a natural science illustrator and enthusiast, and works with digital, pencil and watercolor media. She is an avid seashell collector and an observer of nature on macro and micro levels. She enjoys creative time of any sort, good food and conversation, writing, gardening, music and most of all, traveling with her best friend and husband of 39 years, Donald. They have also shared their lives with a variety of rescue cats and dogs that have filled their lives along the way.
Dr. Julie Ray
Dr. Julie Ray was named chair of the Department of Elementary, Early and Special Education at Southeast in 2011. The department has 18 full-time faculty, with three undergraduate and four graduate degrees offered on the main and regional campuses. As a member of the College of Education leadership team, she helped guide the department in a complete curriculum revision in 2014 to meet new state teacher certification standards, as well as the development of two new graduate degrees.
She has been a college professor since 1996, joining Southeast in 2002 where she also holds the title of professor of early childhood education. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in language development, assessment, family engagement, and current issues and trends in early childhood education. Her research interests include family engagement, technology with young children, and effective clinical experience practices.
In 2009, she published a textbook with Dr. Kathy Grant titled “Home, School and Community Collaboration: Culturally Responsive Family Engagement.” The third edition of this best-selling textbook was published in 2015 and is being used widely in two- and four-year educator preparation programs nationally.
During her professional career, Ray has given more than 40 state and national presentations on family engagement, teacher preparation, technology and national accreditation. She has been an invited keynote speaker, leading early childhood programs to develop comprehensive family engagement plans. She currently serves on the executive board of and is a regional representative for the National Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators. She is a past program reviewer and member of the Advisory and Audit Committee for the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s accreditation of early childhood educator preparation programs.
Ray has received numerous awards for her teaching and has been the advisor for two student organizations — the Alpha Eta chapter of Kappa Delta Pi education honor society, and the Southeast Early Childhood Organization.
Ray was a teacher and elementary librarian in the public school setting for 17 years prior to her career in higher education. She is certified in early childhood education, elementary education, and library science. She holds a Master of Science in early childhood education from Arkansas State University and a Doctorate in Philosophy in curriculum and instruction with an emphasis in early childhood education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Ray and her husband, Dennis, have been married 39 years and have two daughters and sons-in-law, and four grandchildren. They enjoy traveling across the country by motorcycle and have visited 36 states on the way to their goal of riding in all 50 states. They are active with La Croix Church in Cape Girardeau.