1,444 to Receive Degrees at Spring Commencement May 12


Southeast Missouri State University will hold its spring commencement ceremonies May 12 during which 1,444 students – 1,112 undergraduates and 306 master’s degree candidates, 26 specialist candidates – will receive their degrees.

Southeast will hold two commencement ceremonies 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 Harrison College of Business, College of Education and College of Science, Technology and Agriculture will take part in a 2 p.m. ceremony.

Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt will deliver the 10 a.m. address, and Dr. C.P. Gause, professor of educational leadership and counseling and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Southeast, will present the 2 p.m. address.

In total, 393 students will graduate with honors — 91 will graduate summa cum laude (3.9 to 4.0 cumulative grade point average); 110 will graduate magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.89 cumulative grade point average); 187 will graduate cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 cumulative grade point average); and five will graduate with honors in associate degrees. 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.

Also recognized during the ceremony will be 29 students graduating with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and 42 Honors Scholars.

Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt

Missouri State Treasurer Eric Schmitt

The morning commencement speaker, Eric Schmitt, was elected the 46th Treasurer of the State of Missouri on Nov. 8, 2016, and sworn into office on Jan. 9, 2017. As State Treasurer, he is focused on advocating for Missouri taxpayers, investing in small businesses and expanding economic opportunity while overseeing the state’s $3.6 billion investment portfolio as its chief financial officer.

Schmitt’s record of accomplishments serves as a reflection of his values and leadership. During his time as an alderman for the city of Glendale and his two terms in the Missouri State Senate, he worked to cut taxes for working families, improve educational opportunities for Missouri children, and advocate for those with special needs.

He earned his Juris Doctor from Saint Louis University, where he was editor of the Law Review. Schmitt is also a cum laude graduate of Truman State University, where he founded a Habitat for Humanity chapter, and DeSmet Jesuit High School in St. Louis.

A sixth-generation Missourian, his family story is one of patriotism, hard work, and entrepreneurship. Schmitt’s grandfather served in the 7th Army during World War II and saw major combat as an infantryman. After the war, he returned to Missouri to start a small butcher shop, where his father would later work while attending night school to earn a diploma. Schmitt watched his father work seven days a week on the midnight shift to provide a better life for his family, an experience that taught him the value of a strong work ethic.

He was inspired to enter public service to be a voice for his son, Stephen, who was born with a rare genetic condition causing tumors on his organs. Stephen also has epilepsy, is on the autism spectrum, and is non-verbal.

Schmitt and his wife, Jaime, have three children, Stephen, Sophia, and Olivia.

Dr. C.P. Gause

Dr. C.P. Gause

The afternoon commencement speaker, Dr. C. P. Gause, is professor and chair of the Department of Educational Leadership and Counseling at Southeast Missouri State University. He is a former public school teacher, principal and school district administrator.

He received his doctorate in educational leadership from Miami University, his Master of Educational Administration from The University of South Carolina-Columbia, his Master of Arts in Teaching-elementary education from The Columbia International University and his Bachelor of Science in human resource management from Trinity International University.

Gause is an internationally recognized award-winning author, teacher, scholar and motivational speaker, and a prolific poet. He has published numerous books, articles, book chapters and manuscripts on educational leadership, equity, diversity and inclusive education. His books, “Integration Matters” and “Keeping the Promise,” received the American Educational Studies Association 2007 and 2009 Critics’ Choice Awards. His latest book, “Leadership, Equity, and Social Justice in American Higher Education: A Reader” critiques the current state of American higher education through the lenses of critical theory and critical pedagogy. The contributing authors are a diverse array of scholars and practitioners who are committed to moral and shared leadership, equity and access, and social justice.

In 2009, Gause received the National Faculty Mentor Role Model of the Year Award given by Minority Access Inc., a non-profit firm, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He is also the recipient of the College of Education’s 2016-2017 Professional Growth Award. Gause believes in the transformational power of teaching and learning and is committed to creating engaging dynamic and equitable learning communities, for all, locally and globally.

Gause finds joy spending all of his “free” time with the love of his life, Boovie, his Blond Standard Poodle.