University News

WIU's Fall 2019 Commencement Dec. 13-14

December 3, 2019

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MACOMB, IL - Ceremonies recognizing the academic and personal accomplishments of Western Illinois University students and alumni will be held Friday-Saturday, Dec. 13-14 in Macomb during Western's Fall 2019 Commencement Weekend.

At 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, the Academic Honors Convocation will be held in Western Hall. This ceremony recognizes college scholars, departmental scholars, honors scholars and candidates who have earned academic distinction throughout their undergraduate careers at Western. Students receive a medallion for each honor, which they wear at Saturday's Commencement ceremonies.

The number of students eligible to participate in Fall 2019 Commencement Ceremonies — scheduled for 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14 in Western Hall — is 815, which includes 537 undergraduate students, of which 88 students are in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies degree program (formerly the Board of Trustees Bachelor of Arts degree program), as well as 184 master's-level graduate students and six students earning their doctorate degrees in educational leadership (Ed.D.) — they are: Andrew T. Fenton (Vernon Hills, IL); Janean S. Friedman (Antioch, IL); Michelle E. Hetrovicz (Inverness, IL); Victorene King (Lindenhurst, IL); Tamara G. La Prad (Macomb); and Isaac J. Newman (Erie, IL).

The combined ceremonies will include presenting graduating seniors their diploma covers and hooding graduate degree candidates.

Alumni Achievement Awards

The outstanding accomplishments of five WIU graduates will be recognized during Saturday's Commencement ceremonies. This year's Alumni Achievement recipients are Emmerson Buie, Jr., special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Chicago Field Office; Kim R. Ekena, retired vice president of marketing for the American River Transportation Company, a subsidiary of Archer Daniels Midland; Phillip C. Giles, vice president of sales and marketing for QBE North America's Accident and Health division; Carol E. Scott, retired professor and coordinator of faculty and instructional development at the College of DuPage; and Christopher L. Washington, executive vice president/CEO of Urbana University (a branch campus of Franklin University).

Ekena and Giles will be recognized during the 9:30 a.m. ceremony, and Buie, Scott and Washington will be recognized during the 1 p.m. ceremony.

Honors and Commencement Ceremonies

Events scheduled for Friday, Dec. 13 include the following:

5:30 p.m. Academic Honors Convocation, Western Hall
College, Honors and Departmental Scholars and students with academic distinction based on grade point average (GPA) will receive a medallion for each academic honor.

WIU Interim President Martin Abraham will begin the ceremony with a welcome.

Graduating senior Leah Murphy, (Elgin, IL), an Honors Scholar in law enforcement and justice administration, is the convocation speaker and will deliver her speech "No Courage Without Fear." Graduating senior Paige Woods, who will receive her bachelor of fine arts degree in musical theatre, of Heyworth, IL, is the national anthem singer. Marshals are: Mariah Dicksen (Lockport, IL), biology; Audrey Fletcher (Macomb), mathematics; Nicole Hamilton-Cross (New Zealand), forensic chemistry; Nashuba Hudson (Chicago), political science; Colton Markey (Macomb), speech pathology and audiology; and Abigail Thompson (Augusta, IL), speech pathology and audiology.

Commencement Ceremonies

Interim President Abraham will welcome the graduating class at the 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. ceremonies.

The 2019 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, WIU Department of Physics Interim Chair Kishor T. Kapale, will be recognized at each ceremony.

The Western Illinois University Concert Band, under the direction of Art Martinez, conductor, will perform the music, and graduating senior Claire Ryterski (Columbia, IL), music, will sing the national anthem at the 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. ceremonies.

The 9:30 a.m. Commencement Ceremony will recognize graduate and undergraduate candidates in the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business and Technology, and the Institute for Rural Affairs (IIRA), as well as candidates in the Bachelor of Arts in General Studies and in Interdisciplinary Studies. Ekena and Giles will receive their Alumni Achievement awards.

Marshals, who are graduating seniors selected from the top scholars earning high academic distinction, guide the stage party, faculty and graduating class from the processional to the recessional. They are: Joshua Franke (Staunton, IL), accountancy; Nolan C. Groenewold (Industry, IL), computer science; Lyndisty Littell (Bloomington, IL), anthropology; Adria G. Ramey (Galena, IL), biology; Troy E. Rhoads (Macomb) general studies; Quinn Rumler (Mount Carroll, IL), history; Joseph A. Turk (Macomb), English; and Madeleine Wilsey (St. Johns, MI), physics.

The 1 p.m. Commencement ceremony will recognize the Doctorate in Educational Leadership candidates and graduate and undergraduate candidates in the College of Education and Human Services and the College of Fine Arts and Communication. Buie, Scott and Washington will receive their Alumni Achievement Awards.

Marshals are: Payton M. Abbott (Byron, IL), social work; Donna J. Breedlove (Canton, IL), speech pathology and audiology; Diana DeFelice-Pirro (Peoria, IL), physical education K-12; Sara A. Devine (New Berlin, IL), music education; Abbie J. Heitz (Astoria, IL), special education; Pedro L. Herrera (Prophetstown, IL), law enforcement and justice administration; Kelsey A. Pudlas (Mount Morris, IL), music education; and Payton R. Reed (Cuba, IL), elementary education.

International Flags

The flags of 15 nations represented by the Fall 2019 graduating class will be displayed in the arena. Sponsored by Western's School for Global Education and Outreach, the flags represent the following countries: Bangladesh, China, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Nepal, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Togo, Turkey, Turkmenistan and the United States. Western Illinois University was home to students from 53 countries during the Fall 2019 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 represent the University overall, the School of Graduate Studies, as well as 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 following faculty members:


9:30 a.m.
• Anita Hardeman
, associate professor of music in the College of Fine Arts and Communication
• Hoyet Hemphill, professor of instructional design and technology in the College of Business and Technology
• In Lee, professor of computer science in the College of Business and Technology

Chris Morrow, WIU Department of English interim chair, College of Arts and Sciences

1 p.m.

• Hardeman
, associate professor of music in the College of Fine Arts and Communication

• Hemphill, professor of instructional design and technology in the College of Business and Technology

 Sharon Stevens, professor of education in the College of Education and Human Services

• Penelope Shumate, assistant professor of music, College of Fine Arts and Communication

Live Broadcast/Web Stream

Western's University Television (UTV) will broadcast the Academic Honors Convocation and each Commencement ceremony live on Macomb's cable channel 3. The Macomb ceremonies will also be streamed live on the web. A link to the web broadcast will be available from Western's homepage ( during the time of the ceremonies.

DVDs and Photos

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

Open Ceremonies; ADA Requests

Ceremonies are open to family and friends of the graduates. Tickets are not required; seating is on a first come basis. 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.

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