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Wayne State College Spring 2015 Commencement

Published Friday, May 15th, 2015

Graduation Spring 2015
President Curt Frye addresses the 2015 graduates.

Commencement exercises took place May 9, 2015.

Wayne State College held commencement for graduate and undergraduate students May 9, 2015. The graduate ceremony was at 9:30 a.m. in Rice Auditorium and the undergraduate ceremony was at 2 p.m. in the Willow Bowl, Wayne State’s outdoor amphitheater. President Curt Frye, who retired in June, delivered the commencement address at the undergraduate ceremony.

The graduate ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in Rice Auditorium conferred degrees on 107 students, which included master’s degrees in education, business administration, organizational management, curriculum and instruction-instructional leadership, and educational specialist degrees. 

The undergraduate ceremony featured multiple awards honoring excellence among the college’s faculty, alumni and supporters, as well as the commissioning oath of a second lieutenant who completed Wayne State’s ROTC program. There were 439 students graduating with their bachelor’s degrees.

View the program for the commencement exercises.

Graduate Invocation

Samantha C. Parolek delivered the invocation at the graduate ceremony. She graduated with a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction – instructional leadership.

Parolek, originally from Clarkson, Neb., works as the high school assistant cross country coach, middle school girls basketball assistant coach, and middle school girls track head coach at Douglas County West Community Schools in Omaha. She is the daughter of Ron Parolek of Clarkson and Janice Parolek of Columbus, Neb. Her younger brother, Zachary, graduated May 9 with a bachelor’s degree from Wayne State.

Graduate Commencement Speaker

Brenton Patrick Hoesing of Missouri Valley, Iowa, delivered the commencement address at the graduate ceremony. He graduated with an education specialist degree in school administration/educational leadership. 

Hoesing earned his third degree from Wayne State. He graduated with a bachelor of science degree in 2008 and a master of science degree in 2011. He was a varsity letter winner in golf as a Wayne State undergraduate and was the recipient of the Nebraska State Business Education Association Student-Teacher of the Year award in 2009.

Hoesing plans to continue serving as Middle School/7-12 athletic director for Missouri Valley Community Schools with an eye toward becoming a school superintendent in the future. He is the son of Dan and Jill Hoesing of Schuyler, Neb. Brent and his wife, Jenna, have a daughter, Rylyn. Brent joins his father, Dan, brother, Brad, and mother-in-law, Gayln Delimont as Wayne State graduates.

Undergraduate Invocation

Alyssa L. Bish delivered the invocation at the Wayne State undergraduate ceremony. The Aurora, Neb., native is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in speech communication with an emphasis in organizational leadership and public relations and a minor in sociology. 

While a student at Wayne State, Bish served as Student Senate president for two years; Lambda Pi Eta – Mu Gamma Chapter (national communication honor society) president for four years; Alpha Lambda Delta (national freshmen honor society, 3.5 or higher GPA) vice president, junior advisor, senior advisor for four years; Cardinal Key (women’s junior/senior honor society) president; Philomathean President’s Honor Society; Phi Kappa Phi (nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor societies for all academic disciplines); Pi Gamma Mu (International Social Sciences Honor Society); Alpha Kappa Delta (International Sociology Honor Society); Public Relations Student Society of America, vice president in 2014; Rotaract – secretary and Rotary scholar recipient for two years; Color Guard Member for two years; Campus Crusade for Christ; co-director of Wildcat Academy of Leadership and Knowledge; Community Coordinator /Resident Assistant for three years; and College Relations intern. 

Her awards while at Wayne State include graduating Summa Cum Laude; Rotary scholar recipient; Outstanding Speech Communication Student of the Year 2015 (selected by faculty); Honors Student – Honors paper: “Shaping Foster Care Communication”; Deans List; National Communication Association Board member (one of three elected nationwide) – three years in a row; presented research and served on “recruitment of students to the major” panels at seven research conferences nationally and internationally (Kansas City, Washington, D.C., Chicago, Milwaukee, Taiwan, Minneapolis, and Wayne); selected as one of the Student Senate presidents in Nebraska to attend the  American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy (AIPAC) and Saban Conferences – four total conferences; Went to Taiwan and presented at the Technology University Conference: Language, Teaching and Intercultural Communication in the 21st Century, Chienkou Technology University, Taiwan; went to Israel with AIPAC as one of seven Student Senate Presidents in the Nation; and Wayne State Leadership Scholar Recipient.

Bish will be attending the University of Missouri pursing a Ph.D. in interpersonal communication with a focus on foster families and public policy. She received the graduate fellowship at the University of Missouri and a teaching assistantship. She is the daughter of Eldon and Cathy Bish of Aurora, Neb. She has a younger sister, Lurena, who is attending Wayne State and will graduate in May 2017.

State Nebraska Bank & Trust Teaching Excellence Award

Dr. Barbara Engebretsen, professor of Health, Human Performance and Sport, received the State Nebraska Bank & Trust Teaching Excellence Award. Matt Ley, chief executive officer of State Nebraska Bank in Wayne, presented the award. David Ley, the bank’s 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 Nebraska Bank of Wayne support the college in many ways, including scholarships and as a trustee of the Wayne State Foundation Board of Trustees.

This prestigious honor is awarded on the basis of rigorous standards that require a superior level of effective teaching. Engebretsen also was Wayne State's nominee for the Nebraska State College System Teaching Excellence Award.

Honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy Award

Nic Windeshausen

Dr. H. Nicholas (Nic) Windeshausen joined exclusive Wayne State company when he received an Honorary Doctorate of Pedagogy from Wayne State College during the spring commencement exercises in the Willow Bowl. Windeshausen, a resident of Citrus Heights, Calif., has been a Wayne State Foundation trustee since 1994.

Windeshausen was born in Osmond, Neb., in 1923. He married Joyce Pilger on May 3, 1946. Joyce’s great uncle, Adam Pilger, served an instrumental role in the creation of Wayne State by introducing a bill in the House of Representatives on Jan. 23, 1909, to purchase the Normal School in Wayne for the state of Nebraska. The bill was passed on March 18, 1909, and was signed by the governor April 6, 1909. The Normal School at Wayne became Nebraska Normal College at Wayne in 1910. The name was later changed to Wayne State Teachers College. Nic and Joyce raised two daughters and have three grandchildren. Joyce lost her battle with cancer on Jan. 10, 2008.

Windeshausen graduated from University of Nebraska in 1954 with a bachelor of science degree in accounting, a master’s degree in finance in 1955, and a Ph.D. in marketing and management in 1962. Joyce graduated from Wayne State College in 1941 with an associate of arts degree in education and received her bachelor of science in education from the University of Nebraska. 

Honorary doctorates granted by Wayne State include Esper Boel and Nebraska Gov. Kay Orr in May 1985; Charles Trimble in May 2002; Alex G. Spanos in 2003; Hilda Neihardt in July 2004; and Dr. H. Nicholas Windeshausen.

Alumni Achievement Award

Jim Ricketts

Jim Ricketts, a 1974 graduate of Wayne State, received the Alumni Achievement Award during the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Ricketts serves as president and chief operations officer of Omaha-based Opportunity Education Foundation (www.opportunityeducation.org).  The foundation serves 1,688 schools in 11 developing countries in Africa and Asia with curriculum, technology, and educational materials along with teacher development. The Foundation has contributed $60 million of support since 2006 to make quality education accessible to children in the poorest of poor areas to improve their standard of living.      

Ricketts joined Opportunity Education as an experienced businessman, securities attorney, arbitrator, and instructor. He previously served as vice president of TD Ameritrade for 20 years with assignments that included acquisition, legal, compliance and brokerage firm management. He serves the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) as an arbitrator and is a past founding member of the National Association of Security Dealers (NASD) e-Brokerage Committee. He serves on Nebraska's Department of Education Council of International Education. He taught business law and real estate law as adjunct professor at Colorado College.  

Ricketts earned his juris doctorate from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 1979. He holds Bar Admission in California. Ricketts was ordained a permanent Deacon in the Roman Catholic Church Archdiocese of Omaha after a four year theology program. He serves Jesus Christ in various ministries in the Church. Louisiana College honored Ricketts’ service to students and teachers in Africa and Asia as 2013 recipient of the Trustee's Distinguished Service Award. 

Undergraduate Commencement Address

Wayne State President Curt Frye delivered the commencement address for undergraduates. Frye, former vice president and Dean of Students at Wayne State, was named the 12th president of Wayne State College on June 2, 2011, by the Nebraska State College System Board of Trustees. He retired in June.

Frye had retired from Wayne State on June 30, 2009, but returned to serve as interim president upon the 2010 resignation of former President Richard Collings. Frye began working at Wayne State in 1985, serving as associate dean of students, dean of students, and in 1993 was named vice president and dean of students. Frye served as interim president from 2003 to 2004 after the resignation of Dr. Sheila Stearns.

Prior to coming to Wayne State, Frye was a teacher and coach at Cody/Kilgore and a guidance counselor in Neligh and Wayne. A native of Elk City, Frye holds a bachelor of science in education from Midland Lutheran College in Fremont and a master of science in education from Chadron State College.

Frye is leaving Wayne State after a distinguished presidential term that included expanding the ranks of the faculty, guiding the college through a recent re-accreditation, improving the college’s strategic planning process, and leading several campus improvement initiatives, which included the ongoing complete renovation of U.S. Conn Library.

Frye has served the community of Wayne for many years as a member of Kiwanis, president of the Wayne Area Economic Development Board, and is a member of Our Savior Lutheran Church.

He and his wife, Dianne, have two children and two grandchildren.