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Wayne State College Spring 2016 Commencement

Published Monday, April 25th, 2016

Graduation Spring 2015
Saturday's graduate ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 1 p.m.

On Saturday, May 7, WSC will award 145 students with master's degrees and 393 students with bachelor's degrees.

Wayne State College will hold commencement for graduate and undergraduate students on Saturday, May 7. The graduate ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m. in Rice Auditorium and the undergraduate ceremony will be at 1 p.m. in the Willow Bowl, Wayne State’s historic outdoor amphitheater. President Marysz Rames will lead both ceremonies.

The graduate ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in Rice Auditorium will confer degrees on 145 students, awarding master’s degrees in education, business administration, organizational management, curriculum and instruction-instructional leadership, and educational specialist degrees.

The undergraduate ceremony will feature multiple awards honoring excellence among the college’s faculty, alumni and students. There are 393 students graduating with their bachelor’s degrees.

View the full list of graduating students

Graduate Ceremony Invocation

Barbara Njeri Kibugi of Nairobi, Kenya, will deliver the graduate ceremony invocation. She is graduating with a master of science in education degree in clinical mental health counseling. She is the daughter of Joyce Wanjiku Kibugi and Francis Kihara Kibugi.

She is a member of Chi Sigma Lambda counseling honorary society and Alpha Sigma Lambda, an organization of academically outstanding non-traditional students in continuing higher education at Wayne State.

Kibugi served as a Wayne State graduate assistant, Bridges International member, and a research assistant for  ongoing research titled “Loving What We Do: Exploring the Experiences and Retention of Mental Health Counselors.”  The research was presented at the joint 2016 American Counseling Association and Canadian and Psychotherapy Association Conference in Montreal, Canada.

Kibugi plans to pursue a counseling license in Nebraska after graduation.

Graduate Commencement Address

Donald E. Short III of Sioux City, Iowa, will deliver the graduate commencement address. He is graduating with a master of science in education degree - curriculum and instruction - instructional leadership/elementary education. He is the son of Jennifer Lockwood of Cherokee, Iowa, and Larry and Kim Hamman of Moville, Iowa. 

He earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a music concentration at Morningside College in Sioux City, graduating Summa cum Laude.

Short is a fifth-grade teacher at Liberty Elementary School in the Sioux City Community School District. Short serves as director, music director, and choreographer for LAMB Arts Regional Theatre in Sioux City, Iowa, where he also teaches dance and music. He has appeared on the LAMB stage in many roles, and occasionally steps behind the scenes to direct. Short has danced for nearly 20 years; during that time, he has been part of a national tour and performed in The Nutcracker on the Orpheum stage.

Undergraduate Ceremony Invocation

Dasirae Danielle Sieh of Stanton, Neb., will deliver the undergraduate ceremony invocation. She is graduating with a degree in biology. Sieh is the daughter of Michael and Shellie Sieh of Stanton.

Sieh was a  Neihardt Scholar, named for WSC alumnus and Poet Laureate of Nebraska and the Plains John G. Neihardt. The Neihardt Scholarship is the most prestigious scholarship awarded by Wayne State College. Sieh was a Rural Health Opportunities Program dentistry student, Dean’s List honoree, and a recipient of the Paul and Marcia Swanson Dental Endowed Scholarship, Walter G. Ingram Scholarship, Student Scientific Research Scholarship, Eleanore Benthack Ingram Memorial Scholarship, Gordon Shupe Memorial Scholarship, American Red Cross Scholarship, and Nebraska School Activities Association Believers and Achievers Scholarship.

Sieh was active in the Wayne State Honors Program, Philomathean Presidential Honorary Society, Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Cardinal Key Honor Society, Honors Club, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Explorers Club, Rotaract Club, Pre-Dental Club, Health Science Club, and intramurals. She served as a volunteer with the National Science Foundation Science Fair, Mercy Meals, and Orphan Grain Train. Like many Wayne State students, she participated in multiple Service-Learning projects. She also worked as a dental assistant at Wakefield Dental Practice, and was a lifeguard and manager of the Stanton Municipal Pool.

Sieh’s father, Michael, graduated from Wayne State with a bachelor’s degree in math and computer science education in 1988, a master’s degree in school administration in 1993, and an educational specialist degree in 1998. Sieh’s mother, Shellie, graduated from Wayne State with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1988. Sieh’s sister, Alexis Erbst, graduated from Wayne State with a bachelor’s degree in chemistry-health science in 2013.

Sieh will be attending the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Dentistry in Lincoln this fall to obtain her doctorate in dental surgery before returning to practice dentistry in rural Nebraska.

Baccalaureate Address and Alumni Achievement Award

Bart Gotch is the recipient of this year’s Alumni Achievement Award and will deliver the baccalaureate address. Gotch graduated from Wayne State College in three and a half years in December 1982 as an honors–honorable mention graduate with a bachelor of science degree in business administration with a finance concentration.

Gotch has served as president of Siouxland National Bank of South Sioux City, Neb., for 25 years. He was hired as president at the age of 30. Siouxland National Bank, chartered in 1980, is a locally owned community bank.

Gotch graduated from Allen High School in 1979. He started his banking career at Citizens National Bank of Wisner in 1983. He received advancements until accepting the president position at Siouxland National Bank in 1991. Gotch enjoys his career in banking, helping his customers achieve their goals and successes along with aiding and providing leadership roles within the community.

In addition to being involved in numerous professional organizations, Gotch has been active in his community through participation and leadership roles in several foundations, including the Wayne State College Foundation, Chamber of Commerce, economic development organizations, capital campaigns including Wayne State’s College Center in South Sioux City, youth sports, and Legion baseball coaching, and other worthwhile organizations.

Gotch’s wife, Terri, also a Wayne State graduate, continues her teaching career in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa.  They have two grown children: a daughter, Dr. Jennifer Smith, DDS, with her husband, Haiden, and their daughter, Kate; and son, Brett Gotch, with his wife, Kyna, both Wayne State graduates.

Honored Retiring Faculty

Dr. Ronald Whitt, Professor of Communication

Dr. Ronald Whitt came to Wayne State in 1981, after teaching high school speech, debate and English for 10 years in Marquette, Mich. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State, a master’s in education from Northern Michigan University, and an education doctorate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

During his time at Wayne State, Whitt served on the Faculty Senate, the Rank and Professional Development Committee, and the Academic Policies Committee. He served as the advisor to Student Senate, Pi Kappa Delta Forensics Honorary, and Lambda Pi Eta Communication Honorary. Whitt was the Academic Programs Officer for the Nebraska State College System Board from 1986 to 1987, and served for years as the faculty representative for collective bargaining.

Whitt earned the Distinguished Lifetime Service Award from the Nebraska Intercollegiate Forensic Association and the John Thurber Distinguished Teacher Award from the Nebraska Speech Communication and Theatre Association.

His teaching interests include organizational communication, organizational leadership, intercultural communication, gender and communication, instructional communication, public address, argumentation, and history and philosophy of education.

Whitt noted that his time at Wayne State was marked by numerous Nebraska state forensics championships and national honors won by WSC students, performing in several Wayne State College and Community Theatre productions, and friendships with outstanding faculty and administrators as well as terrific academic interactions with hundreds of successful Wayne State graduates.

Wayne Anderson, Professor of Art and Design

Wayne Anderson began teaching at Wayne State in 1979 with an MFA in printmaking from Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and a bachelor’s degree from the University of South Dakota. In addition to his studio assignments, he was part of the team-taught American and World Culture honor classes. Anderson taught all of the Art History on campus for 36 years.

During his tenure, Anderson served as director of the Neihardt Gallery for 34 years, served as Art Department chair during the period in which the program became nationally accredited, and chaired and served on several committees, most extensively on Faculty Senate, Rank and Professional Development, and Academic Policies. While in the Senate, he proposed and helped develop evaluations of department heads and the vice president of academic affairs, as well as creating the first written protocols for commencement.

Anderson was a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar and noted that he felt fortunate to receive Wayne State support for his research efforts and professional development.  Anderson stated that he is proud to have spent his career at Wayne State, and, while he has very much enjoyed participating in the sometimes hard-fought development of the art department in size and stature, nothing has given him more satisfaction than interacting with students as individuals and watching their transformation as artists and people. Anderson noted that he values the personal relationships that have been established with colleagues and students during his career.