Published Tuesday, April 25th, 2017
Wayne State College will award 88 master's degrees and 422 bachelor's degrees.
Wayne State College will hold commencement for graduate and undergraduate students on Saturday, May 6. 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 88 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 422 students graduating with their bachelor’s degrees.
Honorable Mike Flood, former Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature, will deliver the commencement address for the undergraduate ceremony. Randall “Randy” A. Pedersen will receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the Wayne State Foundation during the ceremony.
Graduate Invocation: Jordan Holdsworth
Jordan Holdsworth of Carroll, Iowa, will deliver the invocation at the graduate commencement ceremony. He is graduating with a master of science in organizational management.
Holdsworth was a graduate assistant coach with the men’s basketball team at Wayne State.
He plans to pursue an administrative position in college athletics after graduation.
Graduate Speaker: Cassie Kitcheyan
Cassie Kitcheyan of Winnebago, Nebraska, will deliver the student address at the graduate commencement ceremony. She is graduating with a master of science in education in student affairs and college counseling. She is married to Wambli Dolezal, a graduate of Wayne State’s sport management program.
Kitcheyan serves as a Native American Studies instructor at Little Priest Tribal College in Winnebago. In addition to her work, she said she enjoys practicing her Native American culture by creating Native outfits and dancing at powwows with her family.
She plans to continue her work at Little Priest Tribal College teaching and advising in the Native American Studies program and to begin her doctoral studies in Adult and Higher Education at University of South Dakota.
Baccalaureate Invocation: Katie Hughes
Katie Hughes of Seward, Nebraska, will deliver the invocation at the undergraduate commencement ceremony. She is graduating with a double major in elementary education and K-12 special education. Hughes is engaged to Spencer Morris, a 2016 graduate of Wayne State.
Hughes was a standout volleyball player for Wayne State. Her athletic achievements include: three-time NSIC Fall All-Academic Team, two-time NCAA Division II Central Region All-Tournament Team, First-Team All-NSIC, NSIC Defensive Player of the Week, 2015 Honorary Captain of the Omaha World-Herald All-Nebraska volleyball team, Presidential Scholarship Athlete, Dean’s List, and the NSIC Myles Brand All-Academic with Distinction Award. Hughes was also a member of Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
After graduation, Hughes will work as a volleyball graduate assistant at Wayne State College and serve a Partners Program internship at Christian Student Fellowship.
Alumni Achievement Award: Randall A. Pedersen ‘71
Randall “Randy” A. Pedersen will receive the Alumni Achievement Award from the Wayne State Foundation during the undergraduate commencement ceremony. He graduated from Wayne State College with a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1971. He paid for his education by working construction during the summers and in his grandfather’s meat locker during the school year, while also helping on the family farm.
Pedersen worked as a financial planner immediately after graduation. He accepted a position as assistant store manager for Zales Jewelers in Omaha in 1972 and was selected as store manager to open a Zales store in a new mall in Grand Island. He purchased an existing jewelry store in Wayne in 1978, and changed the name to The Diamond Center. He expanded his business to a new location by remodeling an existing building on Main Street, and opened the new store in 2002, which included new jewelry lines and a full service florist shop, wine shop, gourmet foods, and other gifts. This new part of the business was named Flowers and Wine.
Since returning to his hometown of Wayne, Pedersen has been active in the community. He has served on the City Council and Planning Commission, served two terms as president of the Wayne Area Chamber of Commerce, was chair for the Business Improvement District on the reconstruction of Main Street, and is a member of Wayne Area Economic Development. He was Chamber Person of the Year in 2015 and also Small Business of the Year. Pedersen has served on the Providence Medical Center governing board, Little Red Hen Theatre Board, and is a member of Wayne Rotary Club.
He is active in the jewelry industry, serving several terms on the board and as president of the Nebraska, South Dakota Jewelers Association. He is a member of Retail Jewelers Organization, a jewelry buying group of more than 900 independent jewelers across the country, and served 30 years on the Merchandise Review Committee. He also has traveled to South Africa and Israel selecting diamonds for his customers.
Pedersen has committed his time, talents, and treasures to Wayne State College as a trustee and executive committee member of the Wayne State Foundation and past president of the Wayne State Foundation Executive Board. He is also a member of Cat Club, and is a great supporter of Wayne State College and the Wayne State Foundation. He received the Wayne State College Alumni Service Award in 2007 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor in 2015.
Randy and his wife, Rozan, have a son, Joel, who is a wildlife biologist for the National Wild Turkey Federation in South Carolina. They also have two granddaughters; Bailey, a freshman at Clemson—because it’s too cold in Nebraska—and Emma, a freshman at Strom Thurmond High School.
Commencement Remarks: Honorable Mike Flood, Former Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature
Mike Flood will deliver the commencement address for the undergraduate ceremony. He works as a broadcaster and attorney in the state of Nebraska and is a former member of the Nebraska Legislature. He started Flood Communications in 1999 and now owns eight radio stations in Norfolk, Nebraska City, Beatrice, Fairbury and the state’s largest Spanish speaking radio station in Omaha.
Flood launched Norfolk’s first TV station in 2015, and has since added new television stations in Columbus and Beatrice. These radio and TV stations work together as a statewide media network called “News Channel Nebraska.”
He was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2005, and was subsequently elected Speaker of the Legislature in 2007. He continued in that role until the completion of his second term in 2012. Flood was the youngest and longest serving Speaker in Nebraska history.
Flood earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from the University of Nebraska. He is currently of counsel at Norfolk’s oldest law firm, Jewell & Collins.
He and his wife, Mandi, live in Norfolk and have two children, Brenden, 10, and Blake, 7.