576 Students to Participate in Fall Commencement



Dec. 2, 2003 – Five hundred seventy-six students will participate in commencement exercises scheduled for Dec. 20 at Southeast Missouri State University.

Gary Forsee, chairman and chief executive officer of Sprint Corporation and a 1968 graduate of Cape Girardeau Central High School, will present the commencement address during exercises scheduled for 2 p.m. in the Show Me Center.  Participating in the ceremony will be 488 undergraduate and 88 graduate students.  Marc Fulgham, Southeast associate professor of music, and Scott Vangilder, Jackson High School band director, will perform a trumpet duet of the “National Anthem.”  The Southeast Brass Quintet, led by Fulgham, will perform a medley of festival favorites during the program.  Southeast’s “Alma Mater” will be led by Erika Beasley, a junior music performance major from Cape Girardeau.

Leading the class of undergraduates are five students with perfect 4.0 grade point averages.  They are:

  • Sarah Bauer of Arnold, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in business education.
  • Melissa Hakenewerth of Wentzville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.
  • Melissa Liefer of Red Bud, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.
  • Amy Mattes of Kelso, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in education degree with a major in elementary education.
  • Marsha Walker of Dexter, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.

Four honors scholars will be recognized in the graduating class.  They are Samantha Russell and Madeline Simington, both of Cape Girardeau; Sarah Moore of Nokomis, Ill.; and Kristen Williams of Mount Vernon, Ill.  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.

One student will graduate with academic distinction in his major department.  Jon Castronova of Dexter, Mo., will be recognized for academic distinction in the Department of Psychology.

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.

Thirty-six members of Phi Kappa Phi also will be recognized during commencement exercises.  Phi Kappa Phi is an international honor society for academic distinction that brings together individuals from a variety of disciplines.  The charter is only extended to colleges and universities meeting the society’s rigorous standards.  Southeast first chartered its Phi Kappa Phi chapter in 1992.  The society 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, seven members of Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society for college students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni, will graduate.  Students chosen for Omicron Delta Kappa are juniors, seniors and graduate students with a minimum 3.85 grade point average who have demonstrated achievement in one of the following areas:  scholarship; athletics; campus and community service, social and religious activities, and 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 interests; and to bring together members of the faculty and the student body on a basis of mutual interest and understanding.

An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 107 undergraduates and 43 graduate students will be honored.  Dr. Bruce Domazlicky, professor of economics and the recipient of the 2003 PRIDE Award, will present the Honors Convocation address.  Dr. Paul Lloyd, chair of the Faculty Senate and professor of psychology, will serve as grand marshal at the commencement ceremony.

Among the undergraduates participating in the honors convocation, 19 will graduate summa cum laude, 27 will graduate magna cum laude, and 61 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, Gary Forsee, has more than 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry.  He currently serves as the chairman and chief executive officer of Sprint Corporation.  He has served as president and chief operating officer of the Long Distance Division at Sprint, the president and chief executive officer of Global One (a partnership of Sprint, France Telecom and Deutsche Telekom), and interim chief executive officer of Sprint’s wireless venture, now the company’s PCS Division. Forsee has also served as vice chairman for BellSouth, where he took responsibility for all domestic operations, and he was president of BellSouth International.  He held management positions with AT&T and Southwestern Bell.

Prior to his telecommunications experience, Forsee received a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR).  He currently serves on the UMR Board of Trustees and is chairman of the National Board of Trustees of the March of Dimes. Forsee is a member of The Business Roundtable and the Kansas City Civic Council, as well as a member of the board of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.