By Jeff Murphy, May 3, 2016
WARRENSBURG, MO – Along with a record number of graduates, the University of Central Missouri’s Spring 2016 Commencement will include the first students from The Missouri Innovation Campus to receive UCM diplomas when ceremonies take place the weekend of May 6-7 in the Multipurpose Building.
According to the Office of the Registrar, a total of 2,378 undergraduate and graduate students who have met requirements to complete their degrees this spring or during the summer 2016 are eligible to participate in this weekend’s graduation exercises. This exceeds last year’s record combined spring and summer total by 153 students.
This also will be the second year the university has utilized a commencement format that features five ceremonies over a two-day period. Instead of three separate events, which are utilized during the fall commencement, spring 2016 will include two ceremonies on Friday, and three on Saturday.
Festivities begin with the graduate ceremony for students in the College of Health, Science, and Technology at 2:30 p.m., followed by the undergraduate ceremony for graduates in the same college at 6:30 p.m.
Joining college graduates for the evening ceremony will be members of the first cohort of students who are completing four-year degrees from The Missouri Innovation Campus. Eleven students have met degree requirements in this program, which was established in 2012, and was a prime reason for U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to UCM in July 2013.
The MIC, which will be housed in a new facility by fall 2017, involves the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District and its Summit Technology Academy, UCM, Metropolitan Community College, and more than 40 Kansas City area businesses. Students enter this rigorous program their junior year of high school while attending the STA, and by approximately the same time they complete their senior year of high school, they also finish an associate degree from MCC. They go on to complete their baccalaureate degree at UCM much earlier than students who follow a more traditional higher education path, while also benefiting from paid internships with high-tech companies that help to lower the cost of their education and helps significantly reduce their college debt.
Commencement exercises continue on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the graduate and undergraduate ceremony for new graduates in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and for students who are obtaining General Studies degrees. The College of Education’s ceremony for graduate students, undergraduates and graduates of the THRIVE program begins at noon, and the graduation ceremony for graduate and undergraduate degree candidates in the Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies begins at 3 p.m.
THRIVE is an innovative, two-year certificate program designed to assist college-age students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to become independent, self-sufficient members of their community. The THRIVE acronym represents the six threads of the self-determination program: Transformation, Health, Responsibility, Independence, Vocation, and Education. The 12 students who are eligible to receive their certificates during the May 2016 commencement are the fourth group to successfully complete the program at UCM.
In addition to honoring graduates, Charno Awards also will be presented to the top male and female citizens of the senior class during commencement weekend. The Byler Distinguished Faculty Award will recognize the top faculty member for the 2015-2016 academic year. Byler recipient Joe Lynne Koehn, Ph.D., BKD Distinguished Professor of Accountancy, will be honored during the 3 p.m. ceremony on Saturday. Charno Award winner Josephine Diekemper, a dietetics major from Springfield, will be honored at 6:30 p.m. Friday, and David Rogers, a political science and international studies major from Warrensburg, will be recognized at 9 a.m. Saturday.
A complete schedule of commencement activities is available online at ucno.edu/commencement/spring.cfm. Undergraduate students who have specific questions or just need more information can visit the Office of the Registrar in Ward Edwards 1000, call 660-543-4914 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Graduate students should visit The Graduate School in Ward Edwards 1800, call 660-543-4621 or email email@example.com.