Published Monday, April 22nd, 2019
A total of 500 degrees will be conferred by President Marysz Rames.
Wayne State College will hold commencement ceremonies for graduate and undergraduate students May 4 in the college’s historic Willow Bowl amphitheater (weather permitting). The graduate student ceremony will be at 9:30 a.m., and the undergraduate ceremony will be at 1 p.m. This will be the first year that the college has held both ceremonies in the Willow Bowl. (If weather is an issue, ceremonies will be in the following locations: graduate ceremony in Ramsey Theatre and undergraduate ceremony in Rice Auditorium.)
A total of 500 degrees will be conferred by President Marysz Rames. Those students receiving their degrees include 381 undergraduates and 119 graduate students of the college’s Master of Science in Education, Master of Organizational Management, Master of Business Administration, and Education Specialist programs.
The graduate ceremony will feature master’s candidate Trevor William Longe of Omaha delivering the invocation; John Chaney, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State College System delivering greetings from the board; and remarks by master’s candidate Allison Danyel Baker of Norfolk.
The undergraduate ceremony will feature bachelor’s candidate Andrea Kay Larson of Mediapolis, Iowa, delivering the invocation; John Chaney, a member of the Board of Trustees of the Nebraska State College System delivering greetings from the board; presentation of the State Nebraska Bank & Trust Teaching Excellence Award to Donald Buryanek, assistant professor of Technology and Applied Sciences, who is retiring this summer after 30 years at Wayne State; remarks by Dr. Jodi Kupper, vice chancellor for Academic Planning and Partnerships for the Nebraska State College System; and a graduation address by bachelor’s candidate Andrey Robert Naidenoff of Lincoln.
Graduate Invocation: Trevor William Longe
Trevor W. Longe of Omaha, Neb., who is graduating with a master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction/Instructional Leadership, will deliver the invocation at the graduate ceremony. He graduated with a master of education degree in Educational Leadership from Doane University in 2010 and a bachelor’s degree in Social Science Education from Peru State College in 1997.
Longe currently works as an Advanced Placement Psychology and World Geography instructor at Elkhorn South High School where he also serves as the assistant baseball coach.
He is married to Michelle Williamson with whom he has a daughter, Emily Longe, and a stepson, Ethan Williamson. His mother, Arlene (Olson) Longe, was a 1970 Elementary Education graduate of Wayne State.
He plans to continue in his current position and seek out future leadership opportunities in curriculum or an administrative role after graduation.
Graduate Speaker: Allison Danyel Backer
Allison Danyel Backer of Norfolk, Neb., who is graduating with a master’s in Business Administration, will deliver the commencement address for the graduate ceremony. Backer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration-Human Resource Management from Wayne State in 2017.
Backer’s activities at Wayne State included Philomathean Presidential Honor Society (member); Student Senator 2015-2017; Cardinal Key (member); WSC Student Society for Human Resources Management (member and vice president/treasurer); Torch Club (member); Sigma Beta Delta (member); and Phi Kappa Phi (member and co-president). She was a finalist for the Ron Holt Civic Engagement Award in 2017. Backer is currently a member and treasurer of the Norfolk Area Human Resource Association, and Kiwanis Emerging Leaders.
Backer comes from a large family of Wayne State graduates, which includes two brothers, Bruce and Adam, and two sisters-in-law, Mandy and Anne. She is the daughter of Joni and Dan Backer of Randolph.
She plans to continue working at Northeast Community College in the advising office after graduation.
Baccalaureate Invocation: Andrea Kay Larson
Andrea Larson of Mediapolis, Iowa, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Agribusiness, will deliver the invocation at the undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Larson’s activities at Wayne State included Wayne State Women’s Basketball (captain), Student Athlete Advisory Committee (treasurer), Fellowship of Christian Athletes (president), and Delta Sigma Pi (member).
Her honors and awards included Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Winter All-Academic Team (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019); WSC Dean’s List (Fall 2015, Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019); Sigma Beta Delta Honor Society; and 2018 and 2019 Strength and Conditioning All-American athlete.
She plans to move to Holstein, Iowa, to begin a career with VT Industries as a Department Manager in the Manufacturing Management Program after graduation.
Commencement Remarks: Dr. Jodi Kupper, Vice Chancellor for Academic Planning and Partnerships for the Nebraska State College System
Dr. Jodi Kupper, Vice Chancellor for Academic Planning and Partnerships for the Nebraska State College System, which includes Chadron State College, Peru State College, and Wayne State College, will deliver the guest commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony. Her primary responsibilities focus on academic planning and facilitating collaborations and partnerships that extend and enhance the academic programs being offered by the state colleges.
A native of Northeast Nebraska, Dr. Kupper graduated from Wayne State College in 1989 with a B.A.E. in Secondary Education. She completed her M.S. in Secondary Education in 1995 and completed her Ph.D. in Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction in 1998.
Prior to her current role, she spent six years teaching high school English in Nebraska and Iowa, seven years at Millikin University in Illinois as a faculty member and Director of Teacher Education, and nine years at Peru State College as Dean of the School of Education. She resides in Seward, Neb., with her husband, Bernie.
Undergraduate Commencement Address: Andrey Robert Naidenoff
Andrey Naidenoff of Lincoln, Neb., who is graduating with a degree in Criminal Justice with Emergency Management and Social Sciences minors, will deliver the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony.
His activities at Wayne State included Criminal Justice Association (president); Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (member); Social Sciences Honor Society (vice president); International Geographical Honor Society (member); Criminal Justice Honor Society (vice president); Career Services Student Ambassador; Student Judicial Board Alternate; Philomathean President’s Honor Society (member); and Honor’s Program.
Naidenoff’s honors and awards included Wayne State Criminal Justice Student of the Year 2016-2017 and 2015 DJ’s Hero Scholarship Recipient.
He plans to obtain a position as a municipal police officer after graduation.
Honored Retiring Faculty: Donald J. Buryanek, Assistant Professor of Technology and Applied Science
Don Buryanek, assistant professor of industrial technology and applied science, is retiring from Wayne State College in summer 2019 after 30 years of service to the college. He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1976 and his master’s degree in 1978, both from Wayne State.
Buryanek began teaching for the college in 1989. He taught manufacturing, mechanical and architectural drafting, surveying and print reading, cabinetmaking, Level 1 Networking, and solid modeling. Buryanek also served as the advisor of the Industrial Technology Club and SkillsUSA, a partnership of students, teachers, and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce. His teaching and research interests included computer-aided design, mechanical and architectural drafting, animation and rendering, and technology and society. During his time at Wayne State, Buryanek served on all but one faculty committee on campus.
“The most rewarding part of working at WSC has always been the students,” Buryanek said. “You get the opportunity to meet a number of interesting and bright students and hopefully help guide them through a program of study and into a career.”