680 Students to Receive Degrees at Southeast Winter Commencement


Photo of Southeast Provost Jane Stephens

Retiring Southeast Provost Jane Stephens will present the winter commencement address Dec. 19.


Nov. 30, 2009 – A total of 680 students – 586 undergraduates and 94 graduate students — will receive their degrees at winter commencement exercises at 2 p.m., Dec. 19 in the Show Me Center at Southeast Missouri State University. Presenting the commencement address will be Dr. Jane Stephens, who is retiring as provost at Southeast at the end of this semester.An Honors Convocation is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center, during which 127 undergraduates, 27 graduate students and six students receiving specialist degrees will be honored. Dr. Frank Nickell, associate professor of history, director of the Regional History Center, and winner of this year’s P.R.I.D.E. Award, will present the Honors Convocation address. He also will serve as grand marshal during commencement exercises. Among the undergraduates participating in the Honors Convocation, 23 will graduate summa cum laude, 38 will graduate magna cum laude and 57 will graduate cum laude. Students graduating summa cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.9 to 4.0. Students graduating magna cum laude must earn a grade point average of 3.75 to 3.89. The required undergraduate grade point average for graduating cum laude is 3.5 to 3.74. Twenty-seven master’s degree candidates and six specialist candidates will graduate with honors.  Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.Leading the class of undergraduates are five students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Among them are:• Leni Fluegge of Jackson, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting and a minor in Spanish.• Sonya Fuemmeler of Boonville, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in athletic training and a minor in nutrition.• Angela Iacampo of Blytheville, Ark., who will receive a bachelor of arts degree with a major in music and a minor in accounting.• Amanda Thrasher of Bonne Terre, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.• John Wright of Fredericktown, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in biomedical sciences and a minor in chemistry.Six students will be recognized as honors scholars.  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.  Those being recognized as honors scholars are:• Lauren Althoff of Springfield, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in mass communication, advertising option and minors in Spanish and integrated marketing communications.• Rita Jo Dirnberger of Cape Girardeau, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting and a minor in interior design.• Steven Fields of Malden, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of general studies degree with minors in psychological services and social work.• William Garrett of Florissant, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in secondary education degree with a major in biology education, unified science option.• Marlaina Holtgrave of O’Fallon, Ill., who will receive a bachelor of science degree with a major in criminal justice, law enforcement and corrections options, and a minor in agriculture.• Amanda Thrasher of Bonne Terre, Mo., who will receive a bachelor of science in business administration degree with a major in accounting.One student, Holtgrave, will graduate with academic distinction in her major department. 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-five graduating members of Phi Kappa Phi also will be recognized during commencement exercises. Phi Kappa Phi is one of the oldest international honor societies, 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. Also graduating will be 34 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. In addition, two 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.The Southeast Missouri State University Brass Quintet will perform musical selections during the commencement ceremony.  Singing the “The Star Spangled Banner” will be graduating seniors Kaylyn J. Kinder, Justin E. Moore and Laura M. Pace, and the “Alma Mater” will be sung by graduating senior Sarah K. Orlovsky.  The commencement speaker, Stephens is retiring as provost at Southeast Missouri State University in December, after serving in this capacity since July 2000. Prior to this appointment, she served as vice chancellor for Academic Affairs and executive vice chancellor at the University of South Carolina-Spartanburg for six years. Stephens previously served from 1978 to 1994 at Southeast as assistant provost, academic associate, director of the Honors Program and professor of history.She is a former American Council of Education Fellow at Towson State University and a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management for Senior Executive Leadership at the Harvard Institute for Higher Education at Harvard University.Stephens has had a lengthy career in education, which includes teaching at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill., Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., and Central High School and Southside High School., both in Muncie, Ind.Stephens has completed postdoctoral work in historic preservation at Middle Tennessee State University. She holds doctor of philosophy and master of arts degrees from Ball State University, where her major field of study was American History. She earned a bachelor of science degree from Middle Tennessee State University, where she majored in English.During her tenure as provost at Southeast, Stephens was responsible for initiating the Southeast Health on Wheels (S.H.O.W.) Mobile and the Southeast Explorer mobile museum that have expanded the University’s outreach into its service region. She also was instrumental in the development of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) project. This program sends a group of Southeast students to Washington, D.C., each year to participate in a nonpartisan and nonprofit Washington, D.C.-based think tank that analyzes global trends and strategies.While Stephens has served as provost, Southeast established collaborative international partnerships with Hunan Normal University in Changsha, China, and Sichuan Normal University. Southeast’s current merit process for faculty was initiated, which now includes a post-professorial merit designation. Under Stephens’ leadership, faculty fellowships, known as Scholarships of Teaching and Learning, were enacted, and the Southeast Missouri University Press, which serves as both a publisher and working laboratory for students interested in learning the art and skills of literary publishing, was launched. Also during Stephens’ tenure, the University launched ALEKS, a self-paced computer learning assistance program for all development math courses, and it developed a database online process for program review.A number of new facilities also were initiated during Stephens’ term as provost. The River Campus, home of the Holland School of Visual and Performing Arts, was completed, and the new Honors Program house was recently dedicated at 603 N. Henderson.Student radio station KDMC was launched under Stephens’ leadership, and KRCU Radio relocated to new and improved studios in Serena. Also during her tenure, the University launched the new Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment, which is now accepting Diagnostic Evaluation and Assessment appointments and expects to relocate to a newly constructed facility in January.Stephens also spearheaded the development of the new Information Commons, which opened last year on the third floor of Kent Library. The Information Commons is a concept bringing together the newest possibilities in technology, a Multi-Media Room, comfortable seating and group study rooms with traditional library services. The Information Commons was developed to support student teamwork, collaboration and research on the Internet, and to provide access to multimedia and well-designed informal learning spaces. The Information Commons equips students with the skills to locate, evaluate and use information in today’s increasingly technological society. It also will allows today’s students to conveniently bridge print and digital information platforms and to make use of a group learning and research environment that will help better prepare students for the professional world.