Dakota Wesleyan graduates 235 at Commencement

Thursday, May 28, 2015

It has been 129 years since Dakota Wesleyan University held its first Commencement ceremonies. DWU welcomed this year’s class of 235 graduates to the Corn Palace stage May 3 for this year’s graduation, coming a long way from its original eight.


Dr. John Cawley, a 2004 DWU graduate, gave the Commencement address. Cawley is the owner and partner at Associates in Family Medicine P.C. in Fort Collins, Colo., and spoke to students about the importance of taking advantage of opportunities and living life to the fullest.


The Rev. Eric Van Meter gave the baccalaureate speech on “The Art of Failure,” and not being afraid to try.


This year, an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration went to Ron Gates Sr., and Jerry Luckett, associate professor of business administration and economics, was awarded the prestigious Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence by Steve Clarke and his wife, Whitney, on behalf of the Clarke family.


The following is a list of graduates:


Master of Arts in Education degrees:

Listed alphabetically (# indicates anticipated summer graduation)


Andre Crenshaw, education policy and administration, Mitchell, S.D.

Houston Jones, education policy and administration, Oklahoma City, Okla.#

Sara Konechne, education policy and administration, White Lake

Eric Larson, education policy and administration, Overland Park, Kan.

Matthew McManus, education policy and administration, Alexandria, S.D.

Emilie Palo, education policy and administration, Hot Springs, S.D.

Jose Lopez Rojo, education policy and administration, Lewisville, Texas

Samantha Sikkink, education policy and administration, Mitchell, S.D.

Rafael Simmons, education policy and administration, Mitchell, S.D.




Master of Business Administration-Strategic Leadership degree:

Listed alphabetically (# indicates anticipated summer graduation)


Kathryn Abuswai, Mitchell, S.D.#

Heather Bartscher, Wagner, S.D.#

Steven Bloch, Lesterville, S.D.#

Paul Burgess, Lancaster, Calif.#

Amanda Dennis, Centennial, Colo.#

Patrick Dennis, Centennial, Colo.#

Micaela Erickson, Milan, Minn.#

Jesse Holz, Rapid City, S.D.#

Kimberly Lofgren, Mitchell, S.D.

Jared Reno, Huron, S.D.#

Crystal Rozeboom, Hull, Iowa

Jose Venales, Urbandale, Iowa#



Bachelor of Arts degrees (names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude) (# indicates anticipated summer graduation)


South Dakota


Alexandria – Ryan Lenger, business administration and communication; Cole Wenande, business administration

Baltic – Eric Gruis, business administration, and sport, exercise and wellness

Big Stone City – Kayla Mielitz, elementary education **

Brandon – Betty Brockmueller, nursing#

Burke – Skyler Heyden, elementary education with honors **

Canton – Jared Stearns, accounting***; Jasmin Vant, history education*

Cavour – Brent Matter, accounting*

Corsica – Luke Bamberg, business administration#; Kris Menning, business administration*; Lee Niewenhuis, human services; Lacey Reimnitz, criminal justice, and human services, and music**

Dell Rapids – Joshua Fiedler, biology

Emery – Darin Bartscher, human services

Ethan – Kira Stammer, psychology*

Hot Springs – Christopher Housley, business administration

Howard – JoLee Drown, business administration#

Hurley – Stephen Lee, elementary education; Terysha Roth, biology

Marion – Kolleen Matthies, human services

Martin – Logan Risse, sports management

Miller – Shaney Davis, criminal justice

Mitchell – Sandra Baker, human services and behavioral sciences; Alexandra Christensen, human services**; Jonathon Dunlap, biology and criminal justice#; Mary Lanning, nursing; Cynthia Loseke, human services; Dezarae McGuire, business administration#; Dillon Miles, business administration**; Morgan Millar, entrepreneurial leadership; Jenna Miller, elementary education and music education*; Chelsea Moody, business administration*; Nicole Schroeder, human services and criminal justice#; Samual Schumacher, sports management; Aaron Tilberg, criminal justice#; Marissa Tubbs, elementary education with honors**; Laura Vold, human services#; Tyler Volesky, leadership and public service; Briana Weiss, creative writing, and digital media and design**; Elise Wibben, human services#

Mount Vernon – Megan Hart, elementary education#; Emma Otterpohl, criminal justice, and leadership and public service**

Nisland – Francois Barnaud, sport, exercise and wellness

Onida – Michael Stier, criminal justice

Platte – Ryan Antaya, criminal justice

Presho – Mara Eriksen, elementary education and special education**

Rapid City – Matthew Britt, Christian leadership#; Lindsey Corrin, elementary education and special education***; Nicole Gleich, elementary education and special education; Megan Johnson, psychology

Sioux Falls – Andrew DeVaney, religious studies#; Devinne Facile, mathematics and actuarial science emphasis; Alexander Famestad, entrepreneurial leadership#; Tyler Grilley, sports management; Eric Nelson, criminal justice

Stickney – Kyle Gerlach, business administration***

Sturgis – Kyle Hencke, business administration#

Tripp – Samantha (Sandau) Ziegler, English education***

Tulare – Joseph Mitchell, human services#

Tyndall – Jared Van Winkle, sport, exercise and wellness*

Valley Springs – Jeffrey Maassen, biology#

Vermillion – Joseph Ford, graphic design

Waubay – Jonathan Wieger, history***

Winner –Marque Brunmeier, psychology#; Ashley Simkins, criminal justice and human services

Woonsocket – Kayla Collins, elementary education**; Emily Olson, history#

Yale – Lexy Timm, elementary education with honors**

Yankton – Brook Woehl, wildlife management


Other states:



Gilbert – Analisa Morel, Christian leadership and English creative writing

Peoria – Francisco Rangel, sports management



Alhambra – Natalie Gutierrez, sport, exercise and wellness

Bakersfield – Colleen Hannum, biochemistry*

North Hollywood – Anthony Cervantes, criminal justice

Pearblossom – Trever Deverstern, communication#

Temecula – Taylor Warner, criminal justice and psychology



Denver – Mickey Grant, digital media and design, and entrepreneurial leadership

Elizabeth – Tyler Johnson, criminal justice

Loveland – Zachary Custer, sports management#

Northglenn – Chelsea Burback, biology and criminal justice#



Burlington – Chad McCannon, business administration#

George – Sarah Kruse, business administration#

Hawarden – Kelby Van Wyk, elementary education



Kuna – Alexander Smith, communication



East Grand Forks – Darrin Hager, psychology

Fairmont – Joseph Fitzgerald, entrepreneurial leadership

Red Lake Falls – Kyle Larson, human services

Worthington – Cassandra Landgaard, biochemistry **; Jalen Voss, sports management#



Billings – Cody Reitz, sports management



Fordyce – Jonathon Kleinschmit, biology and theatre#

Mead – Katherine Johnson, accounting and mathematics ***

Norfolk – Broderick Baker, psychology

Pierce – Kathryn Uttecht, elementary education

Polk – MacKenzie Stevens, communication#

Sidney – Ryan Roach, human services and criminal justice



Wernersville – Jacob Verry, criminal justice



Lantana – Jonathon Knight, business administration*



Green Bay – Katherine Lindow, business administration



Cheyenne – Savannah Minder, psychology#

Jackson – Christian Doyle, psychology*


Other countries


Muscat – Thara Ali Said, mathematics and graphic design with honors**




Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees (names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude) (# indicates anticipated summer graduation):


Mitchell – Jacob Habermann, theatre; Brittney Kaufmann, theatre*




Bachelor of Science degrees (names followed by *** indicates Summa Cum Laude, ** Magna Cum Laude; and * Cum Laude) (# indicates anticipated summer graduation):


South Dakota


Artesian – Jo Anne Oberg, nursing***

Baltic – Michelle Arends, nursing#; Alexis Howe, nursing; Deborah Koopman, nursing; Glenn Scotting, nursing

Black Hawk – Marie Olson, nursing

Canton – Abigail Fossum, athletic training***

Dell Rapids – Dylan Ljunggren, accounting; Lindsay Merry, nursing

Freeman – Sheila Rigo, nursing#

Harrisburg – Savanah DeBelts, nursing#; Sara Lammer, nursing

Howard – Kelli Smith, nursing

Hurley – Celeste Beck, biology***

Huron – Alexis Fiorini, nursing#; Sara Hines, nursing*; Ashley Kingdon-Reese, nursing#

Letcher – Alicia Vermeulen, nursing#

Mitchell – Kristin Gebel, nursing#; Collette Krutsch, nursing#; Jennifer Kriese, nursing#; Natalie Roth, nursing#; Ashley Thurman, nursing#; Tara Tollefson, nursing#

Mount Vernon – Jordan Adam, biology**; Sara Deinert, nursing#; Kalla Renken, nursing#

Pierre – Dustin Paulsen, biology with honors#

Rapid City – Megan Johnson, biochemistry

Scotland – Spencer Bloch, accounting

Sioux Falls – Sarah Bruns, nursing*; James Dietz, nursing#; Lonny Heinemann, nursing#; Tiffany Johnston, nursing**; Kylie Keiser, biology with honors*; Lexi Perry, nursing#; Ryan West, biology

Tea – Vanessa Johanneson, accounting

Tripp – Jill Nuebel, nursing*

Vermillion – Hannah Ford, biology with honors***

Warner – Briana Jung, nursing#

Wolsey – Ashley Styer, nursing#

Woonsocket – Jodi Doering, nursing#

Yankton – Tiffany Fiechuk, nursing*


Other states



Lancaster – Kathryn Anderus, nursing#



Hawarden – Crystal Millikan, nursing



East Grand Forks – Kevin Hatcher, management

Heron Lake – Alex Meyer, athletic training*

Marshall – Lori Lima, nursing

Pipestone – Katie Brockberg, nursing#

Rochester – Bryce Berletic, athletic training**

Worthington – Cassandra Landgaard, athletic training with honors**



Parnell – Barbara Mullock, nursing#



Harrison – Katelyn Woodrum, athletic training

O’Neill – Jody Parks, nursing#


North Dakota

Surrey – Taylor Kuhn, athletic training**




Associate of Arts degree:

All Associate of Arts degrees will be conferred this summer upon completion:


Mitchell – Clay Loneman, criminal justice



Associate of Science degree in nursing

All Associate of Science degrees will be conferred this summer upon completion:


South Dakota


Aberdeen – Kristin Brandt, LPN-RN

Alexandria – Kelsey VandenHoek

Armour – Brianne Leonard, LPN-RN; Jennifer Schelling

Baltic – Shelby Moe, LPN-RN

Bridgewater – Megan Weber, LPN-RN

Brookings – Lauren Fitts

Canova – Lynze Wobig

Cavour – Amber Tschetter

Corsica – Cassie Bamberg; Ashley Wright

Dell Rapids – Hannah Hammer; Jenna Murphy LPN-RN; Meghan Paul

Gregory – Taylor Anshutz

Harrisburg – Laura Elgersma LPN-RN

Hecla – Sabrina Olson LPN-RN

Hitchcock – Katelyn Grehl

Huron – Stephanie Brock, Jaime Brockhoft, Amber Deming, Kristen Holland, Haleigh Tringale

Letcher – Lacey VanLaecken

Madison – Chantel Spurgin LPN-RN

Mitchell – Tatyana Brown, Lindsay Predrickson, Shelby Gunsch, Cahndra Koch, Amy Mueller

Onida – Tiera Feller

Platte – Jessica Muller

Scotland – Chelsea Raker

Sioux Falls – Dina Censky LPN-RN; Kelsey Cook LPN-RN; Tasha Devericks; Alison Jones LPN-RN; Deena Larson LPN-RN; Trisha Miiller LPN-RN; Rebecca Richardson LPN-RN

Stickney – Stephanie DeWaard, Heather Vreugdenhil

Wagner – Brittany Sik

Wessington Springs – Hilary Ryan

Wolsey – Koel Heydon

Woonsocket – Stacy Treib


Other states:



Huntington Beach – Sara Watson

Monterey Park – Vanessa Mendez

Santa Fe Springs – Stephanie Bravo



Fort Collins – Brittany Drake

Sterling – Kimberly Gregerson



Ortonville – RaeAnn Thompson, LPN-RN



Red Lodge – Jessica Ramey


DWU assumes management of Dakota Discovery Museum; Memorial Day Exhibit in works for weekend

Thursday, May 21, 2015
The Dakota Discovery Museum, on the Dakota Wesleyan University campus, has reopened and has a Memorial Day exhibit set to open this weekend.

Memorial Weekend hours announced for DWU

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Memorial Weekend hours announced for DWU

South Dakota Workforce: It’s a Both/And Proposition

Monday, May 11, 2015
President Amy Novak of Dakota Wesleyan University promotes the importance of a both/and proposition for the state -- stressing the importance of both technical education and four-year programs.

Employees honored, retirees recognized at DWU breakfast

Thursday, May 7, 2015
Dakota Wesleyan University took time Wednesday to honor and recognize employees for their years of service, their credit to the university and to say farewell to those moving on to the next phase in their lives.

DWU announces Van Zee as new Kelley Center director

Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Dakota Wesleyan University announced Monday that Dr. Ryan Van Zee has been hired as the new director of the Kelley Center for Entrepreneurship.

DeVaney receives Bishop Armstrong Peace and Justice Award

Sunday, May 3, 2015
Andrew DeVaney, a senior at Dakota Wesleyan University, was named this year’s recipient of the Bishop Armstrong Peace and Justice Award during DWU’s Baccalaureate service Sunday.

Luckett named this year’s recipient of Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence

Sunday, May 3, 2015
Jerry Luckett was awarded the prestigious Clarke Award for Teaching Excellence on Sunday during Dakota Wesleyan University’s Commencement services.

Author, illustrator for children’s book, ‘All That a Moo Can Do,’ set book-signing

Thursday, April 30, 2015
McGovern Center director Dr. Alisha Vincent, author, and DWU student Dyrani Clark, illustrator, will be available to sign copies of “A Moo For You/What A Moo Can Do” from 9 to 11 a.m., Saturday, May 2, at Cornerstone Café, East Third Avenue, Mitchell.

DWU students recognized for scholastic achievement during Honors Banquet

Monday, April 27, 2015
Many Dakota Wesleyan University students were honored on Friday, April 24, for the 2014-15 Honors Banquet held on campus.
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Dakota Wesleyan University was named to the 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
Dakota Wesleyan University is proudly affiliated with the Dakotas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Members of any and all faiths are welcome and encouraged to experience an education based on learning, leadership, faith and service.
Dakota Wesleyan University has been honored as a College of Distinction through demonstration of excellence in these areas: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities and successful outcomes.
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