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Wayne State College Winter 2017 Commencement

Published Tuesday, December 5th, 2017

The graduation ceremony will also feature Alumni Achievement Award winner Keith Knudsen.

Wayne State College will hold a commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 15 in Rice Auditorium. A total of 205 degrees will be conferred by President Marysz Rames. Those students receiving their degrees include 159 undergraduates and 46 graduate students of the college’s Master of Science in Education, Master of Organizational Management, Master of Business Administration, and Education Specialist programs.

View the commencement program for the complete list of graduates.

Keith Knudsen ’81, Alumni Achievement Award

Keith KnudsenKeith Knudsen will be honored with the Alumni Achievement Award by the Wayne State Foundation at the winter graduation ceremony. Knudsen graduated from Wayne State College with a degree in Business Administration/Finance in 1981. He graduated from the Graduate School of Banking in Boulder, Colo., in 1991. He serves as a trustee of the school and was chairman of the school in 2015-16.  

Knudsen began working at Security National Bank in February of 1981 and serves as president/CEO and director of Security Bank (Laurel, Osmond, Allen, Hartington, Coleridge). Security Bank was named Extraordinary Bank of the Year in 2017 by the Institute for Extraordinary Banking in Minneapolis, Minn.

Knudsen has been an active member of the Nebraska Bankers Association (NBA). He was a member of the first Nebraska Bankers Association Leadership Program class. Knudsen served as an NBA board member from 2002-05 and is a past chairman of the Operations, Lending, and Government Relations Committees. He continues to share his knowledge of the banking industry by presenting at area, state, and national events and conventions.    

As a proponent for education and the youth of his community, Knudsen served on the Laurel-Concord Schools Board of Education from 1993-2004. He has also served the Laurel community and surrounding area as a member/president of the Laurel Chamber of Commerce; member/chairman of the Hillcrest Care Center Board; member of the Laurel Development Company; member of the Providence Medical Center Board; and Laurel Rescue Unit volunteer.   

Knudsen was elected to the Laurel City Council in 2010 and serves a member and president of the council. He also serves as chairman of the Fund Advisory Committee of the Laurel Area Community Foundation; a member of the Laurel Economic Development Advisory Council; and a Nebraska Ambassador for the Department of Economic Development. 

Keith and his wife, Karen, are members of the Wayne State Foundation Trustees.  

Commencement Invocation

Carla Robinson of Akron, Iowa, will deliver the invocation at the graduation ceremony. She is the daughter of Deb Robinson of Akron and the late Joseph Robinson.

Robinson majored in geography and history with a minor in geospatial technology. She was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta freshman honor society, Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, Pi Gamma Mu Social Sciences Honor Society, and Gamma Theta Upsilon International Geographical Honor Society. She served as president of Phi Alpha Theta and worked for the Geography and History Help Desk and the Nebraska State Geography Bee.

Robinson plans to work in the geospatial technology field after graduation.

Commencement Speaker

Denton Beacom of Hooper, Neb., will serve as an undergraduate commencement speaker. He is the son of Matt and Carrie Beacom of Hooper. 

Beacom majored in elementary education with English as a second language and reading and writing endorsements. 

He was a member of the Philomathean President’s Honor Society, Blue Key Honor Society, and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. He served as an admissions Navigator and telecounselor, Wayne Student Education Association of Nebraska president 2015-16, Nebraska State Education Association Board of Directors 2016-17, Student Education Association president 2016-17, Wildcat Academy of Leadership and Knowledge, American Red Cross Club vice president 2015-16, and a Teammates Mentor 2014-16. 

Beacom plans to take an elementary teaching position after graduation. He is engaged to Bailey Schlueter.

Commencement Speaker

Andrew Clayton Gelbart of Omaha, Neb., will serve as an undergraduate commencement speaker. He is the son of Ralph Gelbart of Omaha and Julia Gelbart of Sioux City, Iowa.

Gelbart majored in graphic design with a minor in speech communication. He was the 2017-18 Service-Learning Endowed Scholarship recipient, participating in six Service-Learning projects in art and communications courses. He won third place for Newspaper Special Graphics in the Golden Leaf Awards by the Nebraska Collegiate Media Association. He was a member of the Writing Club.

Gelbart plans to pursue a career in graphic design after graduation.