University News

WIU Spring 2018 Commencement Weekend

May 9, 2018


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MACOMB/MOLINE, IL — Ceremonies recognizing the academic and personal accomplishments of Western Illinois University students and alumni will be held Friday-Saturday, May 11-12 in Macomb and Sunday, May 13 in the Quad Cities during the 2018 Spring Commencement Weekend.

The number of students eligible to participate in Spring 2018 Commencement Ceremonies is 2,219, which includes 1,504 undergraduate students, of which 123 students are in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree program (formerly the Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts degree program); 494 are master's-level graduate students; and eight students are earning their doctorates in educational leadership (Ed.D.): Adam Brumbaugh (Mount Carroll, IL); Andrew Crozier (Donnellson, IA); Theresa Dinger (Keokuk, IA); Armand Gasbarro (New Lenox, IL); Carl Johnson (Moline, IL); Jason Leahy (Glenarm, IL); Brian Prybil (Moline, IL) and Margo Schmitt (Des Plaines, IL).

Graduates and guests are encouraged to use the hashtag #WIUGrad​18​ to share their graduation photos and posts on social media.

Ceremony Live Streams

The ceremonies will be available via livestream on WIU's YouTube and WIU's Facebook page.


Health-Related Information

Health-related information can be found here.

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters

James E. Shipp, Sr.
, who received his bachelor's degree from WIU in 1964, will be awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during the 1 p.m. ceremony Saturday, May 12 in Western Hall. Shipp began his career in the Juvenile Justice System for the state of Illinois and later with the city of Chicago. Shipp was chosen to participate in the first National Urban Fellow class, and eventually became president of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation in Brooklyn, NY. In addition to his work with the restoration corporation, he has also served as a director of several city, state and national organizations focused on urban development issues. Shipp worked for Cummins Engine Company for 29 years, working his way up to vice president of corporate facilities. For more information about Shipp, visit bit.ly/2Hezqxv.

Robert and Blenda Ontiveros are the owners of Group O in Milan, IL, the ninth largest Hispanic-owned business in America. The couple will be awarded the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters during the 1:30 p.m. ceremony Sunday, May 13 at the TaxSlayer Center in Moline, IL. Robert and Blenda have made many contributions to the Quad Cities region, focusing on social responsibility and helping others succeed. They are the founders of Mercado on Fifth, a non-profit outdoor market and revitalization project in Moline's Floreciente neighborhood; generous contributors to minority scholarship initiatives at Quad Cities-area higher education institutions, including the WIU-Quad Cities campus; benefactors of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend; and supporters of Junior Achievement's Whole School program, which supplies classrooms with educational materials. For more information about Robert and Blenda, visit bit.ly/2Hezqxv.


Distinguished Alumni

Steven E. Nelson
, a 1977 health sciences graduate, is the founder/co-founder and chairman and chief executive officer of several successful healthcare services and information technology companies. Nelson began his career in health care in 1983 with Republic Service Bureau, Inc., a nationwide hospital auditing company. In 1990, Nelson founded Medical Bill Review, Inc. and Preferred Payment Systems, Inc., and in 1999, he founded Health Network Systems, LLC. In addition to serving as chair and CEO of several companies, Nelson has served on the Board of Concentra Preferred Systems (now Viant, Inc.) and IntelliClaim, Inc., and he also co-founded and actively served on the board of directors of two additional healthcare services and information technology companies, ClariCon, LLC and ClearHealth Strategies, LLC. Outside of healthcare, Nelson is an active private investor in various early- to mid-stage companies in the biotechnology, consumer cloud, maritime defense, healthcare and wealth management industries. Nelson and his wife, Debra, have contributed numerous gifts in support of WIU, including a planned gift. He is actively involved with his alma mater, Leatherneck football and the WIU Alumni Association. For more information, visit bit.ly/2I595FK.

Margaret W. Wong
, a 1973 biological sciences graduate, is an attorney and the founder of Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC in Cleveland, OH. Wong founded her firm in 1978, specializing in immigration law. Today, her practice includes 15 attorneys and 40 staff members with offices in seven major U.S. cities. She has helped thousands of people coming to the United States to become permanent residents, advance their education, and pursue career opportunities. Wong, and her sister, 1973 WIU graduate Cecilia, were born in Hong Kong, moving to the United States in 1969, and both attended WIU. She began her law career in 1977, as chief legal counsel for the City of Buffalo, NY. Wong has won numerous awards and recognition for her work, and she is the author of "The Immigrant's Way." Wong has contributed numerous gifts in support of WIU, including, with Cecilia, four awards to support the WIU RISE (Research Inspiring Student Excellence) program in biology. She is a member of the College of Arts and Sciences Advisory Board and received the College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014. Wong also served as the 15th annual WIU Centennial Honors College Pre-Law Symposium keynote speaker. For more information, visit bit.ly/2I595FK.


Macomb Honors, Commissioning and Commencement Ceremonies

Interim Provost and Academic Vice President Kathleen Neumann will serve as master of ceremonies for each ceremony. Greetings will be given by Cathy Early, chair of the Board of Trustees, and President Jack Thomas will present remarks to the graduating class during the commencement ceremonies. WIU's Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, WIU Management and Marketing Professor Rajeev Sawhney, will be recognized at each ceremony. The Western Illinois University Concert Band, under the direction of WIU Professor of Music Matt Thomas, will play for the Macomb ceremonies.


Events scheduled for Friday, May 11 include:

• 2 p.m. Academic Honors Convocation, Western Hall


College, Honors and Departmental Scholars and students with academic distinction based on grade point average (GPA) receive a medallion for each academic honor. President Thomas will deliver remarks. Graduating senior Molly Marie Cameron (Ellisville, IL) is the Convocation speaker for the Macomb ceremony and will deliver her speech, "Living Out of Context." National Anthem singer: Samantha M. Anderson (New London, IA), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, class of 2018. Marshals: Trisha Cramer (Macomb, IL); Megan Kleinschmidt (Palatine, IL); Heidi Maier (Forrest, IL); Claire Ryterski (Columbia, IL); Lindsey Schafer (Mendon, IL); and Samantha Vrtis-Bentz (Grayslake, IL).

• 3:45 p.m. Army ROTC Commissioning, University Union Heritage Room

A total of 10 Army ROTC cadets, who have completed requirements, will be commissioned to active or reserve duty as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.

• 5:30 p.m. Graduate Hooding and Commencement Ceremony, Western Hall

National Anthem singer: Amanda Jane Ensign (Quincy, IL), Master of Music, class of 2018. Marshals are: Oscar Alvarez (Muscatine, IA); Kayla Beadles (Galesburg, IL); Amy Bielicki (Spring Lake, NJ); Britain Hamm (Macomb, IL); Aimee Jones (Ottumwa, IA); and Michema Lafontant (Hollywood, FL).


Saturday, May 12 - Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies, Western Hall

To find the list of majors by college, go to wiu.edu/commencement/majors.php.

During the 9 a.m. ceremony, candidates in the College of Business and Technology (CBT), College of Fine Arts and Communication (COFAC) and several College of Education and Human Services' departments (including: Athletic Training, Bilingual/Bicultural Education, Elementary Education, Exercise Science, Physical Education K–12 and Special Education) will be recognized. National Anthem singer: Pauline Parkhurst (Germantown Hills, IL), Bachelor of Fine Arts in Musical Theatre, class of 2018.

Marshals, who are graduating seniors selected from the top scholars earning high academic distinction, guide the graduating class, faculty and stage party from the processional to the recessional. Marshals are: Maria Bessmertnaya (Pyatigorsk, Russia); Madison Faith Corzatt (Knoxville, IL); Colton Downs (Canton, IL); Jillian Escobar (Hanover Park, IL); Jeremy Robert Henman (Burlington, IA); Amadeo Ramon Carbó (Dosrius, Spain); Darby Rumler (Mount Carroll, IL) and Shelbi Leigh White (Carthage, IL).

During the 1 p.m. ceremony, the remainder of candidates in the College of Education and Human Services (COEHS) departments (including Apparel and Textile Merchandising; Dietetics; Emergency Management; Family and Consumer Sciences; Fire Protection Services; Health Services Management; Hospitality Management; Law Enforcement and Justice Administration; Nutrition and Foodservice Management; Public Health; Recreation Park and Tourism Administration and Social Work) will be recognized. National Anthem singer: Zachary Douglas Palmer (Washington, IL) Bachelor of Arts in Music, class of 2018. Marshals are: Jessica Danielle Bowton (Canton, IL); Nathan Timothy Brown (Batavia, IL); Rochelle Lynn Canfield (Geneseo, IL); Sarah Christine Elsner (Macomb, IL); Darlene Marie Lewandowski (Elgin, IL); Erin Kathleen Sullivan (Macomb, IL); Brittany Taylor (Alvin, IL) and Anthony R. White (Bettendorf, IA).

During the 4:30 p.m. ceremony, candidates in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (BGS) degree program, the Interdisciplinary Studies Program and the College of Arts and Sciences will be recognized. National Anthem singer: Jordan Mance (Savanna, IL), Bachelor of Arts in General Studies (Chicago, IL). Marshals are: Rebecca Creager (Romeoville, IL); Michelle Lin Farrow (Waukesha, WI); Francesca Camille Hamm (Macomb, IL); Madeline Marie Heinzer (Sugar Grove, IL); Matthew Medley (Springfield, IL); Erika Leigh Nickelson (Batavia, IL); Abby Elizabeth Rocha (Altoona, IA); and Mary Eileen Street (Joplin, MO).

Sunday, May 13 Quad Cities – Honors and Combined Ceremonies, TaxSlayer Center, Moline

Noon, WIU-QC Academic Honors Convocation


College, Honors and Departmental Scholars and students with academic distinction based on grade point average (GPA) receive a medallion for each academic honor. President Thomas will deliver remarks. Graduating senior Rebecca N. Graham (East Moline, IL) is the convocation speaker for the WIU-QC ceremony and will deliver her speech, "Crossing the Divide."

1:30 p.m., WIU-QC Combined Graduate and Undergraduate Commencement

Interim Provost Kathleen Neumann will serve as master of ceremonies for each ceremony. Joe Rives, vice president for Quad Cities and planning, will provide a welcome, and greetings will be given by Cathy Early, chair of the Board of Trustees. President Jack Thomas will present remarks to the graduating class. National Anthem singer: Benjamin Adam Rogers (Savanna, IL), Bachelor of Music, class of 2018. Marshals are: Lindsey Bideaux (Geneseo, IL); Daniel Dankert (Davenport, IA); Vanessa Forbes (Bahamas); Marissa Kletke (East Moline, IL) and Priscilla Porter (Moline, IL).

The Western Illinois University Brass Ensemble, under the direction of School of Music Professor Randall Faust, will play for the WIU-QC ceremonies. Members include: Sabrina Alt (Rock Island, IL), trumpet; Brian Martin (Jackson, MO), trumpet; Julie Jacobs (Lake Orion, MI) horn; Lisa Hallen (LaSalle, IL), horn; Abigail Dominis (Ottawa, IL), trombone; and Crispin Fornoff (Springfield IL), tuba.

Flags

The flags of 36 nations representing the Spring 2018 graduating class will be displayed in the arena. Sponsored by Western's Center for International Studies, the flags represent the following countries: Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Canada, China, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Paraguay, the Philippines, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Vietnam and the United States.

Western was home to students from 62 countries during the Spring 2018 semester.

Gonfalons and Gonfaloniers

Gonfalons, which are banners hung from a crossbar on poles, made their inaugural appearance in the Fall 2009 Commencement ceremonies. Western Illinois University gonfalons are for the School of Graduate Studies, as well as for each of the four academic colleges: Arts and Sciences (white); Business and Technology (royal blue); Education and Human Services (UN blue) and Fine Arts and Communication (spice brown).

Those who are chosen to carry the gonfalons are called gonfaloniers. This honor has been awarded to the faculty members listed below:

• 9 a.m. – Jennifer Plos, associate professor of kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Services; Courtney Blankenship, assistant professor of music in the College of Fine Arts and Communication; Jonathan Devereueawax, instructor of economics in the College of Business and Technology; and Tamara Bories, professor of kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Services.

• 1 p.m. – Jennifer Plos, associate professor of kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Services, and Tamara Bories, professor of kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Services.

• 4:30 p.m. – Jennifer Plos, associate professor of kinesiology in the College of Education and Human Services, and Rebekah Buchanan, associate professor of English in the College of Arts and Sciences.

WIU-QC, 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 13 (TaxSlayer Center)

Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs Kristi Mindrup, WIU gonfalon
Counselor Education Department Chair Holly J. Nikels, Graduate School
Psychology Instructor Ryan Colclasure, College of Arts and Sciences
Associate Dean Jim Patterson, College of Business and Technology
Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction Fred Isele, College of Education and Human Services
Assistant Professor of Communication L. Brendan Young, College of Fine Arts and Communication


Live Broadcast/Web Stream

Western's University Television (UTV) will broadcast the Academic Honors Convocation and all Macomb Commencement ceremonies live on Macomb's Cable Channel 3. The Macomb and Quad Cities ceremonies will also be streamed live on the web and the University's Facebook page. A link to the web broadcast will be available from Western's homepage at wiu.edu during the time of the ceremonies.

DVDs and Photos

DVDs of the Macomb and Quad Cities ceremonies may be purchased through UTV at (309) 298-1880. Photographs of each graduate will be taken as they receive their diploma cover. Proof sheets will be mailed from Western's Visual Production Center to each graduate, with instructions for ordering photos.

Open Ceremonies; ADA Requests
WIU-Macomb


Ceremonies are open to family and friends of the graduates. Tickets are not required; seating is on a first come basis and graduates are requested to try and keep guests to five or fewer. Doors open 90 minutes before each ceremony. An interpreter will sign each ceremony and assistive listening devices will be available to the public at the information table in the north lobby of Western Hall. There are a limited number of disability seats, and individuals in need of special accommodations for the ceremonies should contact Western's Office of Equal Opportunity and Access at (309) 298-1977. Office hours are 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays.


Visit wiu.edu/commencement for more information.


WIU-QC

Individuals needing special accommodations for the Quad Cities ceremony should contact Audrey Adamson at WIU-Quad cities at ((309) 762-9481 or via email at ANW-Adamson@wiu.edu. Office hours are 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. weekdays. Additional information about the WIU-QC Commencement ceremony is available at iu.edu/qc/commencement/index.php.






Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations