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Wayne State College Winter 2014 Commencement

Published Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Graduation Winter 2014

Wayne State College awarded 195 degrees during its winter graduation ceremony Dec. 12, 2014.

Wayne State College held commencement for graduate and undergraduate students at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 12, 2014, in Rice Auditorium. A total of 195 degrees - 151 undergraduate and 44 graduate - were conferred at the ceremony by Wayne State President Curt Frye.

Invocation Speaker

Daniel Janke of Wayne delivered the invocation during the graduation ceremony. He is married to Anna Janke, a Wayne State graduate, and is the son of Byron and Patricia Janke.

Janke graduated Summa cum Laude with Honors, majoring in business administration/economics and finance. He was the recipient of the Nebraska Bankers Association scholarship and the F&M Bank Scholarship. 

While he was a student at Wayne State, he was employed on a more-than-full-time basis as a farm manager for his parents. He was also a member of the Phi Kappa Phi honors society, and the Sigma Beta Delta international honors society for business, management, and administration. He won the 2012 Fiction Slam and presented at the 2014 Nebraska Economics and Business Conference in Kearney, Neb.

He and his wife have two children, Noah and Evelyn. Janke has two sisters who graduated from Wayne State, Brenda Draheim and Beth Pasold. Janke plans to pursue a masters degree in applied economics from the University of North Dakota after graduation.

Honored Retiring Faculty

Dr. William Slaymaker, Wayne State professor of world literature and philosophy, was honored at the ceremony for 25 years of service to the college as he retires. He grew up in Indiana and Michigan where he received his undergraduate education in English and German in 1968 from Western Michigan University and his Ph.D. in comparative literature in 1975 from Indiana University.

Slaymaker has taught a wide range of humanistic disciplines from German language and literature to literary theory and philosophy. As a scholar, he is interested in the intersections of literature and philosophy, and likes to teach world literature and world philosophy. Most recently, he has been teaching and researching nature and environmental writers.

He has published more than a dozen articles on literature, literary theory and philosophy. Much of his interest in Asia and Africa are linked to National Endowment for the Humanities Institutes he has attended and to his participation in world conferences that focus on cultures and literature outside the U.S.

Slaymaker taught in a variety of institutions in Indiana, Michigan and Kentucky prior to coming to Wayne State College in 1989. He was the recipient of the Balsley-Whitmore Teaching Excellence Award in 2005, funded by an endowment established by Howard Balsley and Irol Whitmore Balsley. The award is given annually to a faculty member in English who embodies the teaching mission of Wayne State.

Commencement Address

Mickey J. Doerr of Bloomfield, Neb., delivered one of two commencement addresses. He is the son of Max and Wendy Doerr of Center, Neb. Doerr graduated Summa cum Laude with High Honors, majoring in social sciences education with a coaching endorsement.

Doerr was a three-time Capital One Academic All-American in Outdoor Track & Field, the first athlete at Wayne State to achieve such an honor. He received the Division II Athletic Directors Association Academic Achievement Award, Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Myles Brand All-Academic Award, Presidential Scholar Athlete Award, and was named to the NSIC All-Academic Team for indoor and outdoor track.

Doerr made the Dean’s List with a 4.0 grade-point average every semester. His honor’s presentation was titled “The Seven Deadly Sins: Spatial Distribution by Political Affiliation." In addition to outstanding academic achievements, Doerr was a member of the Wayne State track team, Student Senate, the Philomathean Presidential Honor Society, and Blue Key.

He plans to serve as a substitute teacher in the spring and will attend graduate school next fall in order to be a professor and a sprints coach on a college track team. Doerr had a sister, Lisa, and two brothers, Brian and Kevin Wiese, that graduated from WSC. 

Commencement Address

Megan Miller, daughter of Henry and Marcia Miller of Crofton, delivered the other commencement address. Miller graduated Magna cum Laude with Scholar, majoring in English writing and sociology.

Miller was named the Wayne State Sociology Student of the Year in 2013, received the Nebraska Undergraduate Sociological Symposium Outstanding Paper Award in 2014, and was a Fiction Slam winner 2012-2014.

She was a member of the Philomathean Presidential Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society, Alpha Lambda Delta Freshmen Honor Society, and Alpha Kappa Delta Sociological Honor Society. Her Wayne State activities included New Student Orientation, theater, PRIDE, Navigators, and a Study Abroad trip to Greece.

Miller plans to travel to Mexico to teach English, learn Spanish, and do some painting before heading to graduate school in the fall of 2015. Miller’s parents are graduates of Wayne State College.

Alumni Achievement Award

Lennie Adams, group president of the Global Irrigation Division for Valmont Industries, Inc. in Omaha,  received the Alumni Achievement Award. Adams, a lifelong Nebraska resident, earned his bachelor of science degree in accounting from Wayne State College in 1978. He obtained his CPA designation in 1991, and completed the Stanford University executive MBA program in 1996.

His responsibilities with Valmont include the Global Irrigation Division, Industrial Fasteners, Inc. (IFI, a distributor of fastener products in the U.S.), and Cascade Earth Sciences (CES, a water reuse company located in Oregon).

Adams began his career at Valmont upon graduation from college. He has held numerous accounting and controllership positions in the Poles and Tubing divisions of Valmont. He accepted the role of vice president of operations in the Poles Division in 1995. This was followed by the roles of vice president and general manager of the Industrial Products Division and subsequently the position of president for the Coatings and Tubing Division. Adams became the president of North American Irrigation and Tubing Divisions in 2005. He accepted the role of group president for the Global Irrigation Division in January 2009.

Adams served two terms on the Fremont Area United Way Board, with one term as president.  He has also served for six years on the Fremont Area Community Foundation Board. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the College World Series of Omaha, Inc. In addition to his many community commitments, he serves on the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees.

Adams and his wife, Daun, reside outside of Omaha. Their son, Todd, and his wife, Brittainy, have two daughters, Olivia and Sydney.