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Wayne State College Spring 2012 Commencement

Published Monday, April 30th, 2012

Wayne State College held commencement May 5, 2012.

Wayne State College held commencement May 5 - at 9:30 a.m. in Rice Auditorium for graduate students and at 2 p.m. in the Willow Bowl for undergraduate students. A total of 464 degrees - 352 undergraduates and 112 graduate degrees - were conferred at the ceremonies by Wayne State President Curt Frye. Terry J. McClain, a 1970 graduate of Wayne State College, delivered the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony.

Graduate Invocation

Ross Lafleur, the son of Lance and Jane Lafleur of Madison, Neb., delivered the invocation for graduate students. Lafleur completed his undergraduate degree at Wayne State College in May 2009. He is a second generation Wayne State College graduate. His mother, Jane, graduated from Wayne State College in 1974. Jack Lafleur, his brother, graduated from WSC in 2010 and Michael Lafleur, another brother, is a current Wayne State College junior.

Ross teaches junior high and high school Language Arts at North Bend Central Public Schools in North Bend, Neb. In addition to teaching, Lafleur coaches the North Bend Central speech team and directs plays, including the junior high play, competitive one-act play, and high school musical production. He is the drama club sponsor. With the master's degree in curriculum and instruction, Lafleur plans to continue to share his passion for literature, writing and theater with his students.

Graduate Commencement Address

Trisha Hansen-Peters delivered the graduate ceremony commencement address. Hansen-Peters received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Wayne State College in 2004, with concentrations in public accounting and marketing. In the fall of 2009, she was given the opportunity to return to Wayne State as a graduate assistant in the School of Business and Technology, where she teaches marketing, management and other business-related courses. She graduated with her masters of business administration degree.

Hansen-Peters, a native of Wayne, is the daughter of Tim and Mary Hansen. She and her husband, Tim, were married in December and reside in Wisner. She is employed as an associate real estate broker with 1st Realty Sales and Management in Wayne, and she began expanding her business in the Wayne area following graduation. In her free time, she enjoys helping with the grain and livestock operations at her family's farm south of Wayne.

Undergraduate Invocation

Debra Lammers Harm will deliver the invocation at the undergraduate ceremony. She majored in mass communication with a journalism concentration, with speech communication and online media minors. The daughter of Delores Lammers and the late Robert Lammers, she was born in Pleasant Valley, Neb. She resides in Wayne with her two children, Cory and Cassie Harm, and works full-time in the Wayne State College athletic department.

She is a member of Lambda Pi Eta Communications Honor Society, the National Federation of Press Women and the Nebraska Press Women.

State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award

Matt Ley, chief executive officer of State National Bank in Wayne, presented the State National Bank Teaching Excellence Award. David Ley, the banks' chairman of the board, established the award in 1998 as a way of recognizing and strengthening outstanding teaching at Wayne State. David Ley and State National Bank of Wayne support the college in many ways, including scholarships and as a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees.

Steven Elliott, associate professor of art and chairman of the art department, was presented with the award. This prestigious honor is awarded on the basis of rigorous standards that require a superior level of effective teaching. Elliott also was Wayne State's nominee for the Nebraska State College System George Rebensdorf Teaching Excellence Award.

Elliott came to Wayne State in 2003 after completing his bachelor of fine arts degree at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and his master of fine arts degree at the University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland. This is his fourth year as department chair.

Though Elliott teaches a wide range of art classes at Wayne State, his passions are metalsmithing and casting. His large-scale sculptures and mixed-media works have been included in more than 60 exhibitions and collaborations in 23 states nationwide, including the ARC Gallery in Chicago and 516 ARTS in Albuquerque. Recent international exhibits include the Manoa Art Gallery in Honolulu and a collaboration with the Zentral Bibliothek in Zurich, Switzerland.

Elliott's nomination for the Teaching Excellence Award notes that his work as a colleague is uniformly praised throughout our campus, whether the praise is regarding his exceptional teaching, exceptional work as a department chair, leading significant academic assessment activities, work as a committee member, or as a mentor to junior faculty.

Undergraduate Commencement Address

Terry McClain, the senior vice president and chief financial officer of Valmont Industries, Inc., in Omaha, delivered the undergraduate commencement address. He is responsible for accounting, budgeting, internal audit, investor relations, tax and treasury activities of Valmont and its subsidiaries on a global basis.

He received his bachelor of science in business from Wayne State College in 1970 and an MBA from the University of South Dakota in 1971.

McClain began his career as an instructor of business at Wayne State College. He joined Valmont Industries in 1973.  McClain has held progressively responsible positions within Valmont up through his current role as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

McClain was honored May 4 with the naming of the Terry J. McClain Department of Business and Economics in the School of Business and Technology at Wayne State College. The school's faculty members hold him in high regard and the naming recognizes his outstanding achievements in business, his financial support and his dedication to the growth and development of Wayne State.

"We are honored to be able to refer to the Business and Economics Department as the Terry J. McClain Department of Business and Economics," said Dr. Vaughn Benson, dean of the School of Business and Technology. "Many of the faculty in the department have known Mr. McClain for many years and look upon him as a role model for our students. His small town background and his strong work ethic have created a solid foundation for success. Mr. McClain has shown that bright futures do begin at Wayne State College."

McClain serves on the advisory board of the Kansas City Federal Reserve, the executive committee of Mid-America Boy Scouts, LFS Foundation of Nebraska, Finance Advisory Committee of Creighton University and the Wayne State Foundation Executive Committee.

McClain and his wife, Linda, are active in a variety of community activities, including the United Way and local youth support activities. They have two children and one grandchild.