Apply Online | Campus E-mail

News and Information

Campus News
Sports News
Tiger Trib
Wesleyan Today
Fact Sheet
Vision and Values
University Relations
DWU President

News Releases

April 30, 2011

Dakota Wesleyan awards 207 diplomas at commencement

Dan Miller
Dan Miller, theatre director at DWU, was awarded the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence during Commencement.
Dave Mitchell
Dr. Dave Mitchell, professor of business administration and economics, received the Bishop Armstrong Peace & Justice Award during Baccalaureate.
William Bates
The Rev. William Bates, Sioux Falls, delivered the Baccalaureate speech Saturday.
Bishara Awad
Bishara Awad, DWU class of 1964, received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.
Danny Richardson
Danny Richardson, Wichita, Kan., decorated her graduation cap to reflect her honors in women's soccer.

MITCHELL, S.D.  — During the 2011 Dakota Wesleyan Commencement ceremony Saturday, more than 200 students were called upon to put their talents and education toward the service of others.

Robert G. Duffett, president of Dakota Wesleyan University, conferred degrees on 207 graduates during commencement April 30 at the Corn Palace. Master of Arts degrees were presented to 14 students; Bachelor of Arts degrees went to 127 students in a variety of disciplines; and another 66 students received Associate of Arts degrees.

The Rev. William Bates, of Sioux Falls, delivered the Baccalaureate speech that morning and reminded students to live in the now; to stop chasing eternal youth, for while they are in pursuit of such an unobtainable thing, they will neglect to recognize the gift of youth they have now.

Quoting Harold Hill from “The Music Man,” Bates said, “If you pile up enough tomorrows, you’ll find you are left with nothing but a lot of empty yesterdays.”

Bates received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity during Commencement. He was joined by Bishara Awad, DWU class of 1964, who received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

Awad, who delivered the Commencement address, was born in Jerusalem in 1939 and was just 9 years old when his father was killed by a stray bullet during the height of the Arab/Israeli conflict. With his mother and six siblings, he joined hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes and became refugees. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics with a minor in chemistry from DWU in 1964.

In 1979, he founded Bethlehem Bible College, which today is a fully accredited institution that serves approximately 170 young men and women each year. He is considered a true peacemaker, leading an institution that educates Jews, Muslims and Christians who go on to serve their communities as pastors, Christian educators, counselors and youth directors.

Awad spoke of how he turned a life of adversity into a calling to a higher purpose. He called on all graduates to a life of service, a sentiment echoed by Lori Wehlander, class of ’92 and president of the alumni association, who officially welcomed the class of 2011 to the DWU Alumni Association.

In addition to the honorary doctorates, the Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence was given to Dan Miller, theatre director at Dakota Wesleyan. John and LuAnn Clarke presented the award, which left Miller speechless.

Amy Novak, DWU provost and executive vice president, read Miller’s citation and said, “The great playwright Oscar Wilde once remarked, ‘I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being. Professor Dan Miller has embodied Oscar Wilde’s ideal by inspiring a generation of students to truly connect with other human beings through theatre.’ ”

Miller has been instrumental in producing many events on campus, including helping with the 125th anniversary celebration for the college last year and bringing musical theatre back to campus after an almost 20-year hiatus with this year’s four-day performance of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

The following is a list of degree recipients:

Master of Arts degrees:
Alexandria – Katrina Jarding, Secondary Education Certification
Huron – Rebecca Briggs, Secondary Education Certification
Marion – Denise Von Eye Arbach, Curriculum and Instruction
Mitchell – Steven Gust, Educational Policy and Administration; Brian Held, Pre-K- 12 Principal Certification and Degree; Lacey Musick, Educational Policy and Administration; Erin Olson, Secondary Certification and Degree; and Kelsey VanOvershelde, Curriculum and Instruction and Pre K-12 Principal Certification and Degree
Yankton – Richard Erickson III, Secondary Education Certification

Other states:
West Palm Beach – Wildmike Pata, M.A., Pre-K- 12 Principal Certification and Degree

Polson – Terry Lundeen, M.A., Curriculum and Instruction

Hastings – Dustin Sealey, M.A., Secondary Education Certification

McConnelsville, Ohio Brandon Ponchak, M.A., Educational Policy and Administration

Other countries:
Meru – The Bishop William Mwongo, M.A., Educational Policy and Administration

Bachelor of Arts degrees (names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude):

Aberdeen – Carly Hayes, double major in Accounting and General Sciences***; Taylor Ormand, Multimedia
Alexandria – Jordan Gau, Sports Management with emphasis in Marketing; Jonathon Hart, Sports Management with emphasis in Marketing and Sports Promotion; Jim Williams III, Sports Management with emphasis in Facility and Personnel Management; Marlene Warnke, History*
Amherst – Kalissa Wade, Business Administration with emphasis in Finance*
Armour – Misty Cochran, double major in Psychology and Human Services; Mark Mingo, Biochemistry***
Beresford – Rosemarie Decker, double major in Mathematics and Accounting**
Box Elder – Alexander Liberty, double major in Biology and History
Bridgewater – William Quinn, Business Administration
Canton – Stephanie Leist, Elementary Education***
Castlewood – Chase Walder, Individualized: General Health Studies
Cavour – Jennifer Miner, Business Administration with emphasis in Management
Colman – Abby Hemmer, Elementary Education***
Corsica – Lacey Vanden Berge, double major in Psychology and Human Services**
Dell Rapids – Drew Gillogly, History Education
Draper – Karissa Miller, Biology**
Egan – Peggy Schroeder, Religion and Philosophy
Elk River – Hannah Downing, Behavioral Science with Psychology Concentration***
Ethan – Sara Long, Elementary Education***
Freeman – Jacqueline Weier, Elementary Education**
Fulton – Chet McManus, Athletic Training*
Henry – Emily Bastian, double major in Elementary Education and Special Education**
Huron – Wade Schoenfelder, Mathematics*
Kennebec – Jennifer Longville, Elementary Education*
Lead – Tyler Evenson, Multimedia
Lennox – Dustin Schindler, Sports Management with emphasis in Marketing and Promotion
Lesterville – Steven Bloch, Business Administration with emphasis in Finance
Madison – Blake Hodne, Business Administration; Brady Wiebe, Business Administration*
Mission – Chasity Buck, Human Services; Wendy Schmaltz, double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice
Mitchell – Brenda Adam-Habermann, Human Services; Kimberly Allen, Elementary Education*; Cody Bier, Criminal Justice; Jared Ciavarella, Religion and Philosophy; Jason Foster, History; Lorenzo Haddon Jr., Business Administration with emphasis in Finance; Marie Hauge, Accounting; Jeanne Krome, Business Administration*; Kari Jamison, Behavioral Science with Psychology Concentration; Nicole Jarding, Business Administration; Kalynn Juhnke, Elementary Education**; Cassandra Kiner, Human Services; Cindy Kiner, Business Administration; Jacob Lual, Biology; Michelle Malters, double major in Psychology and Criminal Justice*; Gail Moen Duley, English; Tyler Peterson, double major in Psychology and Religion and Philosophy; Donna Spier, Accounting***; Cassey Ver Hey, Elementary Education; Robert Voss, Theatre; Ryan Wagner, Sport, Exercise and Wellness; Karina Willoughby, Behavioral Science
Mobridge – Shannon Mack, History Education***
Montrose – Benjamin Zimmer, Business Administration with emphasis in Finance
Murdo – Kevin Ball, Biology; Jordan Miller, Sports, Exercise and Wellness
Parkston – William Murtha, double major – B.A. in Psychology and Criminal Justice, and an A.A. in Nursing
Pierre – Katie Larson, Criminal Justice; Jennifer Lavinger, Psychology
Rapid City – Foster Bartholow IV, Multimedia; Dane Carlson, Sport, Exercise and Wellness; James Hansen II, Wildlife; Nicholas Tolsma, double major in Biochemistry and Biology**
Salem – William Walker, History
Sioux Falls – Mallory Gould, History Education*, Tanner LaValliere, Business Administration with emphasis in Management; Derek Washington, Business Administration
Springfield – McKenzie Dvoracek, Athletic Training**
Stickney – Jared DeWaard, Sport, Exercise and Wellness; April Teel, English Education***
Wessington Springs – Leah Jackson, Elementary Education; Abby Mettler, Athletic Training***
White Lake – Matthew Mohnen, Independent Composite Math and Natural Science*
Whitewood – Thomas Pickett, Multimedia
Yale – Natalie Wipf, Elementary Education

Other states
Chula Vista – Raymond Blossom III, B.A., Communications
Costa Mesa – Jeffrey Sanchez, B.A., Behavioral Science
Huntington Beach – Nicholas Cappuccilli, B.A., Spanish
Union City – Mario Mendoza, B.A., Sports Management with emphasis in Athletic Administration
Wheatland – Meghan Hauck, B.A. in Biology and an A.A. in Nursing

Aurora - Joseph Roeder, B.A., Criminal Justice
Centennial – Patrick Dennis, B.A., Business Administration
Windsor – Ellie Peterson, B.A., Criminal Justice, Cum Laude

Perry – Brady Schmidt, B.A., Criminal Justice

Wichita – Danielle Richardson, B.A., Criminal Justice, Cum Laude

Boise – Heather Kopecky, B.A., Community Health, Exercise and Wellness

Apple Valley – Taylor Sharpe, B.A., Biology, Cum Laude
Callaway – Keith Blattenbauer, B.A., Business Administration
Pelican Rapids – Tyler Earls, Mathematics
Robbinsdale – Jessica Davidson, Biology
St. James – Lucas Sieve, B.A., double major in Leadership and Public Service; and Criminal Justice
Waconia – Sara Stahlke, B.A., Business Administration

North Dakota
Grand Forks – John Greicar, B.A., Sports Management with emphasis in Marketing and Sports Information

Basset – Kellen Weidner, B.A., Criminal Justice
Creighton – Jayna Morrill, B.A., History Education
Gretna – Thomas Merkwan, B.A., Biology
Meadow Grove – Elizabeth Stewart, B.A., Special Education, Cum Laude
Mitchell – Seth LaBounty, B.A., Religion and Philosophy, Magna Cum Laude
Omaha – Adam Shiffermiller, B.A., Sports Management with emphasis in Political Science; Tristan Washington, B.A., Business Administration with emphasis in Management

Columbus – Larry Swann, B.A., Communications

Copperas Cove – Jeannette Mitchell, B.A., Biochemistry
LaPorte – Ashley Kley, B.A., Biology
Plano – Ryan Santiago, B.A., Sports Management
Royse City – Ryan Perry, B.A., Sports Management
Waco – Mason Hebert, B.A., Business Administration with emphasis in Management

Kent – Eric Boldan, B.A., Business Administration

Gillette – Alan Stuber, double major, B.A., Criminal Justice; Religion and Philosophy
Moorcraft – Katherine Dewey, B.A., Criminal Justice
Rock Springs – Patrick Ritter, B.A., Mathematics

Other countries:
Kincardine, Ontario – Kara Robertson, B.A., Biochemistry, Summa Cum Laude

United Kingdom
Newport South Wales – Christopher Pritchard, B.A., Multimedia

Caracas – Jose Venales, B.A., Business Administration

Bachelor of Arts degrees in Nursing (names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude):

Alexandria – Caitlyn Heezen***
Dell Rapids – Ashley Mailey
Madison – Mary Winter
Mitchell – Ashley Mowry-Johnson*
Rapid City – Gail McIntyre; Amy Torgerson
Redfield – Megan Zens
Stickney – Nathel Cody; Taya Kayser

Associate of Arts degrees in Nursing (names followed by * indicates graduating with honors):

Aberdeen – Nicole Wagemann
Alexandria – Joni Dey*, Mollie Grove*
Armour – Cassandra Weatherford
Brandon – Jennifer Diehl
Canton – Patricia Trumm
Centerville – Jill Heidebrecht
Dell Rapids – Nikki Rinehart
Dupree – Lacy Eaton
Gregory – Lacey Petersen
Harrisburg – Sara Bachtell; Joy Backes
Hartford – Megan Burney
Howard – Allison Clarke Muilenburg
Humboldt – Amber Aanenson
Huron – Katlyn Caviezel; Carissa Daly; Megan Feldhaus; Bessie Hammer; Shawn Miner; Erick Pugsley*
Lake Andes – Brandi Gravatt; Johna Kern
Madison – Tasia Hart
Mitchell – Adrienne Benson; Jennifer Bigge; Lorelee Chleborad; Emily Christensen; Jessica Day; Kelsey Hansen; Carissa Hockett; Pauna Mirkovic*; Natalie Muckey*; Marci Schoepf; Kimberly Schoeppner; Daniell Torgerson
Parker – Michelle Buyck
Parkston – Caitlin Bailey; Heidi Leischner
Phillip – Cassandra Stewart
Plankinton – Beverly Pergeson
Platte – Jamie VanderPol
Rapid City – Brooke Warne*
Sioux Falls – Marti Bisgaard; Londa Brunette; Amber Eggert; Jaclyn Gossen; Jennifer Green*; Sara Lammer; Heidi Meyer; Kristi Plemmons; Abby Thomsen
Tabor – Megan Kloucek
Tea – Monta Schnee; Amy Stainbrook*
Viborg – Brandi Peterson
Wolsey – Theresa Weidner
Woonsocket – Lindsey Thompson*; Alex Warkenthien
Worthing – Kelly Miles

Other States
Luverne – Meghan Cronberg, A.A., nursing
Mora – Rachel Orazem, A.A., nursing

Clackamas – Skyler Swan, A.A., nursing

Related Links: Click here to view additional information about Commencement.

Dakota Wesleyan University
1200 W. University Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
Copyright © DWU
Contact webmaster
Last updated: 5/20/11