Southeast Missouri State University 2020 Commencement Speaker Biographies


Nov. 14, 2020

10 a.m. Ceremony Speaker

Dr. Lisa Bertrand

Lisa Bertrand, Professor, Department of Leadership, Middle and Secondary Education

Dr. Lisa Bertrand is a tenured professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle and Secondary Education at Southeast Missouri State University. Bertrand, a Jackson, Missouri native, earned a Bachelor of Science in elementary education from Southeast in 1980. She earned a Master of Arts in special education from the University of Texas and a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Stephen F. Austin State University.

Bertrand has 41 years of experience in education, including 22 years in elementary, secondary and district public school positions. She has been an educator in Missouri and Texas as a special education and general education teacher, building principal and district special populations coordinator.

In 2002, Bertrand joined the faculty at Southeast as an instructor in the area of educational administration. She is currently the coordinator and faculty advisor for University’s School Leadership graduate program, preparing future principals to lead in area school districts. She has also served on numerous University, college and department level committees. Bertrand has been recognized with several awards, including the College of Education Pride Award, Outstanding Scholarship Award, Outstanding Teaching Award and Outstanding Service Award.

As a Southeast faculty member, Bertrand has presented at numerous national and state conferences, published a book on the Texas accountability system, and has written a variety of manuscripts published in national journals. Her research interests include the implementation of school improvement efforts, leadership preparation, and the intersection of special education and leadership.

Bertrand’s husband Charles is also a Southeast graduate, who earned a degree in education and played basketball as a student athlete. During her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and walking in the downtown area with her rescue dog, Libby.

2 p.m. Ceremony Speaker

Dr. Peter Gordon

Peter Gordon, Professor, Department of Marketing

Dr. Peter Gordon has taught at Southeast Missouri State University for more than 40 years. During his tenure, he served as the director of International Business Programs for over 25 years and has escorted more than 2,000 students on various short-term study-abroad programs in more than 40 countries.  Additionally, he has developed numerous partnerships with universities throughout the world, allowing hundreds of Southeast students to study abroad and hundreds of international students to study at Southeast.

He holds a doctorate in business administration, and a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in economics both from Southern Illinois University. He completed his undergraduate program in accounting at the University of Technology in Sydney, Australia. Prior to coming to Southeast, he taught at the University of South Carolina for two years.  He has also guest lectured at numerous universities in Europe, Central America and South America.

Gordon is past-president and Fellow of the Marketing Management Association. He is founding president of the North American Management Society; has served as president of the Association of Collegiate Marketing Educators; and has been involved with a variety of professional organizations. He is an active member of the Network of International Business Schools, serving as a judge for the Global Business Plan competition.

Gordon has published more than 100 journal articles and conference proceedings papers. He has been awarded numerous “Best Paper” recognitions, service and teaching awards, Marketing Management Association’s Innovative Marketing Award and Student’s Choice Award.

While his personal travel goal of visiting 100 countries has been temporarily sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, he is planning several trips that combine tourism with his passion for rugby.

Nov. 21, 2020

10 a.m. Ceremony Speaker

Dr. Brad Deken

Brad Deken, Professor and Chair, Department of Engineering and Technology

Dr. Brad Deken is professor and chair of the Department of Engineering and Technology at Southeast Missouri State University. He earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from Purdue University and a Master of Science and Bachelor of Science both in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri-Rolla, the forerunner to Missouri University of Science and Technology. Prior to his arrival at Southeast, he worked in the motor manufacturing industry and as an engineering consultant analyzing motors and generators.

Deken joined Southeast as a faculty member in 2007. He has extensively developed the University’s lab spaces and classes for Electricity and Electronics, Industrial Robotics, and Programmable Logic Controllers. Additionally, he has also helped develop programs in Technology Management- Sustainable Energy Systems, Unmanned Aircraft Systems, Applied Technology, and Professional Pilot, the department’s newest academic program.

During his time at Southeast, he has served in a variety of leadership positions. In addition to his role as department chair, he also served as interim dean of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In these leadership roles he has worked extensively with regional industry leaders and been instrumental in securing funds to support Southeast programs.

Additionally, Deken has worked to introduce science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields to middle and high school students through robotics competitions. Working with colleagues in the department, he helped secure grant funding for 20 high school robotics teams to create the FIRST Technology Challenge. This yearly competition has now expanded to include youth in grades 4-8 in the FIRST LEGO League.

Brad is married to Renee Deken, a content instructional consultant with Southeast’s Regional Professional Development Center. They have two children, Aaron and Audrey.

2 p.m. Ceremony Speaker

Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck

Tamara Zellars Buck, Professor and Chair, Department of Mass Media

Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck is professor and chair of the Department of Mass Media at Southeast Missouri State University. She is a former journalist and public relations practitioner. She holds a juris doctorate emphasizing intellectual property law from the University of Memphis. Her Master of Administration specializing in public administration and Bachelor of Arts in mass communication, both from Southeast Missouri State University.

Buck is a teacher, scholar and author who has been recognized for her work as faculty adviser to the Arrow, the student newspaper at Southeast. She is a highly called upon presenter and trainer who has led national conversations over the past two years on the need for improved media diversity and inclusion inside newsrooms and within news content.

Buck currently serves as Vice President of Member Support for the College Media Association. In 2016, she was a co-winner of the College of Liberal Arts Outstanding Teacher Award for innovations in teaching Diversity in Communication. In 2013, she was named a Kopenhaver Fellow (inaugural class) by the Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Florida International University and to the Commission on the Status of Women of Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).

Buck is a proud native of the Missouri Bootheel and says her mission is to inspire and encourage local residents to learn and experience all they can, then share their gifts to improve the region. Her goals are to constantly improve and share her knowledge in all things involving media law and media diversity so she can train future media professionals to stay out of jail, keep their houses, and improve their industry, and in doing so, improve the world.