Missouri State to award 2,541 degrees during spring commencement
Missouri State University will confer 2,541 degrees during the spring commencement ceremonies May 18 at JQH Arena.
Graduates from the colleges of Arts and Letters, Education and Humanities and Public Affairs and global studies majors will receive their degrees at 10 a.m. Graduates from the William H. Darr School of Agriculture and the colleges of Health and Human Services and Natural and Applied Sciences will receive their degrees at 1:30 p.m. Graduates from the College of Business Administration will receive their degrees at 5 p.m.
A total of 1,940 bachelor’s degrees, 548 master’s degrees, nine specialist degrees and 44 doctorate degrees will be conferred. Beyond the standard expectations, 200 students will be recognized for their work with a more rigorous curriculum in Missouri State’s Honors College. Scholastic honors will be given to 272 students who will graduate summa cum laude (with a grade point average of 3.9-4.0 on a 4.0 scale), 156 who will graduate magna cum laude (with a GPA of 3.75-3.89) and 135 who will graduate cum laude (with a GPA of 3.5-3.74).
Shawn Askinosie, founder of Askinosie chocolates, will speak at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Dr. Rosemarie T. Nassif, special adviser to the assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Education, will address the graduates at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. Dr. Nassif graciously agreed to fill in for Andre Lewis, who was required to adjust his schedule and could not attend. John C. Holstein, former State of Missouri Supreme Court chief justice and adjunct professor of business law and education law, will speak at the 5 p.m. ceremony.
Askinosie will also be awarded the Doctor of Public Affairs (A.P.D.) at the 10 a.m. commencement ceremony. A successful criminal lawyer for 20 years, Askinosie is the founder and chocolate maker of Askinosie Chocolate. He is also the co-founder of Lost & Found Grief Center for Children, and was the 2010 and 2011 Mel Carnahan Fellow at Missouri State University’s Public Affairs Academy.
The first graduates of the cooperative engineering program will receive their degrees at the 1:30 p.m. ceremony:
Four years ago, Missouri State University entered into a cooperative agreement with Missouri University of Science and Technology to offer a Springfield-based engineering program, which would meet the demands of engineering jobs locally. This spring 15 graduates will receive a degree from Missouri University of Science and Technology which they earned while studying on Missouri State’s Springfield campus.
“The cooperative engineering program was established to meet a need for place bound students in southwest Missouri,” said Dr. Tammy Jahnke, dean of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at Missouri State.
Program coordinators continue to see the program grow – approximately 200 students are currently enrolled – and Jahnke said the area engineers and local community have been very supportive of the program. In addition, the job market continues to see a demand for engineers. Approximately half of the classes are taught by Missouri State faculty, while the other half are taught by Missouri University of Science and Technology faculty, many in person and others via distance learning.
“Engineering was one of the missing pieces for many years at Missouri State. As this program grows more, we’re going to inject this talent into the economy,” said Dr. Doug Carroll, director of the program on Missouri State’s campus.
More than half of the impending graduates from this program have secured local jobs, and Carroll expects none of them will have difficulty on their search. Neil Brady, president of Anderson Engineering, corroborated this sentiment and has already hired one student.
“As a local company, we appreciate that the students that are from here will stay here,” said Brady.
One of the 2,541 spring graduates is Michael Bard, a student in the College of Business Administration:
Bard thought he had crossed college off his list of possibilities until a move to Springfield opened up the door to finish what he started 13 years earlier. After completing four semesters at local colleges, he had quit school to work full-time as an automobile technician.
“At the time, my career as an automobile technician was the most important to me, but I always felt a longing to complete something I set out on 13 years earlier—my degree,” said Bard.
“What I like most about facility management is that in some ways, it parallels what I did as an automobile technician,” explained Bard. “As a facility manager, you have to be familiar with motors, pumps, boiler, HVAC and all the other areas it takes to keep a building running. I still am able to maintain a technical skill that I am used to, but I am excited to venture into new areas, mainly the administrative side.”
This past year, Bard presented his research, “Plug and Process Loads: Do They Really Amount to Anything?” at the International Facility Management Association’s World Workplace Conference in Phoenix. At the conference, Bard won the IFMA’s E-Poster Competition against students from schools across the country.
The facility management program began at Missouri State in fall 2010, and Bard will be one of the first to graduate from the program.
“Our timing could not have been better to start this degree program. We have a significant unmet need, very few facility management programs nationwide, and the expertise from existing degree programs to roll out an outstanding program,” said Dr. Shawn Strong, department head of technology and construction management. “Michael’s performance at World Workplace is both a testament to his ability and the beginning of what will become a nationally recognized program.”