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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Spring Commencement Planned for May 4-5

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG - 04/26/2007 - The presentation of an honorary degree, an award for distinguished service, and recognition of the outstanding recent alumnus highlight the 136th annual spring commencement exercises at UCM Friday, May 4, and Saturday, May 5 in the Multipurpose Building. More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will participate in ceremonies featuring remarks by President Aaron Podolefsky.

Special Recognition

Receiving special recognition are U.S. Congressman Ike Skelton (D-MO), who receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Laws; Walt Hicklin, vice president emeritus for student affairs, Distinguished Service Award; and Courtney Engelmann Cooper, audiologist from Lexington, KY., recipient of the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award. The presentation to Skelton is planned for Saturday morning, with Hicklin and Cooper honored in the afternoon.

Graduate and Undergraduate Ceremonies

The Graduate Commencement begins with a 5:30 p.m. reception in the Multipurpose Building, followed by the graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. Undergraduates from five academic colleges are honored in two exercises the following day. The 10 a.m.ceremony is for graduates of the colleges of Business Administration, Education, and Science and Technology. Graduates of the College of Health and Human Services and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences are honored at 2 p.m.

College Receptions

Saturday also includes college receptions, beginning at 11:30 a.m. at various campus locations, the graduation ceremony for nursing students at 11:15 a.m. in Hendricks Hall, and the U.S. Army ROTC commissioning ceremony at 4:30 p.m. in the Elliott Union Kitterman Room.

The Honorary Doctorate

The honorary doctorate is bestowed by the authority of the University of Central Missouri’s Board of Governors upon individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service and exemplary achievements within their fields of endeavor.

Ike Skelton


Ike Skelton

� A longtime Lexington resident, Skelton has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1977, and is currently chair of the House Armed Services Committee. He was instrumental in bringing the Army Engineering School to Fort Leonard Wood and the B-2 Stealth bomber to Whiteman Air Force Base, in addition to being a strong advocate for Missouri’s rural residents and small business owners. Prior to his election to Congress, Skelton was a Missouri state senator, and was Lafayette County prosecuting attorney.

The Distinguished Service Award

The Distinguished Service Award honors individuals who have rendered exemplary and extended service to the human race, society, and/or the university. They are people of such integrity, stature, demonstrated ability and renown that Central Missouri’s faculty, staff, students and alumni take pride in and are inspired by their recognition.

Walt Hicklin


Walt Hicklin

Hicklin retired from the university in 2006 after 31 years of service. He came to UCM in 1975 as head football coach as well as a math instructor in the Educational Development Center (now the Department of Academic Enrichment). In 1981, he was named assistant vice president for Student Affairs and served in that capacity for 24 years before becoming interim vice president in 2004. During the 31 years he spent at UCM before his retirement in 2006, he was also active in the American Legion Boys State of Missouri.

The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recognizes any alumnus/a whose endeavors in business, professional, civic, philanthropic organizations, performing arts, public service, volunteer, political or similar activities are worthy of recognition and have brought honor to UCM. The award is presented only during the spring commencement ceremonies.

Courtney Engelmann Cooper


Courtney Engelmann Cooper

Within a short time, Cooper has demonstrated outstanding academic, clinical and professional accomplishments in the field of audiology. A former Warrensburg resident, she has served since May 2005 as staff audiologist at the Lexington Veterans Administration Medical Center in Lexington, Ky. Prior to this appointment, she was a staff audiologist for nearly three years at the Kansas City Veterans Administration Medical Center, where she received the Special Recognition Award in 2003.

She also served as research assistant for the Hall Family Foundation in Kansas City, conducting research to benefit infants, and was an audiology trainee, administering comprehensive hearing evaluations for adults at the Kansas City VA Medical Center.  She is involved in research in her field and in a wide variety of volunteer work related to the health profession and church.