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


Spring Commencement Ceremonies Honor Graduates, Alumni

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (May 7, 2009) – In addition to conferring degrees for nearly 1,000 new graduates,  the presentation of an honorary doctorate and recognition of an outstanding recent alumna will be among the highlights for the 2009 Spring Commencement at UCM. Ceremonies are planned for Friday and Saturday, May 8-9 in the Multipurpose Building.

Graduate and Undergraduate Ceremonies

Commencement exercises begin at 7 p.m. Friday with the graduate ceremony. Morning and afternoon undergraduate ceremonies follow Saturday. New graduates of the colleges of Business Administration, Education, and Science and Technology participate in the 10 a.m. ceremony, with graduates of the colleges of Health and Human Services and Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences to be honored at 2 p.m.

University President Aaron Podolefsky confers degrees and presents the commencement address on Saturday, in addition to announcing special awards. Kea Sung Chung, Honolulu, HI, receives the honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, and Keena Arbuthnot, Baton Rouge, LA, the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

Byler and Charno Award Recipients Recognized

Among individuals to be recognized during the morning and afternoon ceremonies Saturday is Eric C. Honour, Jr., associate professor of music. He receives the top award for faculty, the Byler Distinguished Faculty Award. Julie M. Lorkowski, Wentzville, and Devan J. Dignan, Grant City, will be recognized as recipients of the Charno Award, an honor given annually to the top male and female citizens of the graduating class.

Students Speak at Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Joseph Vaughn, assistant provost for research and dean of the School of Graduate and Extended Studies, presides over the graduate ceremony. It includes special remarks by two graduate students, Michael Praprotnik, candidate for a master’s degree in aviation safety, and Andrea Lewman, candidate for a master’s degree in physical education/exercise and sport science.

Kea Sung Chung
Kea Sung Chung

Kea Sung Chung

The honorary degree is the university’s highest honor for individuals who have distinguished themselves through outstanding service in their field. The first person of Korean ancestry to receive an honorary doctorate from UCM, Chung earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from the university in 1957. After receiving his diploma, he returned home to serve in the military, and later became an important link between Korean and United States governments as Aide-de-Camp to the U.S. General at the United Nation’s Command Headquarters. He developed skills that led him to positions that included serving as a liaison officer to the Republic of Korea Minister of National Defense, a charter member of the Korean government’s new oil venture, then owner of his own import and export company.

Chung’s family immigrated to Hawaii in the early 1970s. While living there, he became worried that younger generations of Koreans could lose their cultural identity as they adapted to Western culture. To address this concern, in 1976 he began airing Korean language programs by buying time from Hawaii’s KBS-TV. Due to his tireless efforts and his expanding vision, one hour of broadcasting per week turned into a full-time operation when he founded KBFD-TV with his sons and daughter in March 1986.  His commitment to cultural understanding was carried one step further on Sept. 17, 1991, when he launched The Asian Network , bringing Korean cultural shows across the continental United States via satellite TV.

keena Arbuthnot
Keena Arbuthnot

Keena Arbuthnot

The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award was established by UCM’s Alumni Association to recognize any alumnus or alumna whose endeavors in business, professional, civic, philanthropic organizations, performing arts, public service, volunteer, political of similar activities are worthy of recognition and have brought honor to UCM.

Since receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics in 1999, Arbuthnot has continued her education and distinguished herself in the field of educational psychometrics. As a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University, she conducted research on issues such as achievement gap among minority and majority groups, differential item functioning, test fairness, mathematical achievement and the psychological effects of standardized testing.

Now an assistant professor at Louisiana State University, she teaches such courses as Applied Statistics, Research Methods in Education, and Principles of Testing and Measurement. She has consulted for the African-American Distributed Multiple Learning Styles Systems and, at the invitation of the country’s leadership, to Qatar on its educational reform programs.