Missouri’s Economic Development Director Keynote Speaker at SFCC Commencement
Rob Dixon, Missouri Department of Economic Development director, will give the keynote address at State Fair Community College’s commencement at 7 p.m. May 18 in the Mathewson Exhibition Center on the Missouri State Fairgrounds.
Rob Dixon was appointed acting director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development July 2017 and was confirmed as director the following January. Before becoming the director, Dixon served as the president/CEO of the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA). MCCA, the largest higher education association in the state, provides government advocacy, networking and education resources for its members.
Dixon also served in a variety of roles at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. His responsibilities included leadership and management of staff and programs in economic and workforce development, public affairs, local government policy, communications, community development, and strategic planning.
After high school, Dixon joined the U.S. Marine Corps where he served as an intelligence analyst in Afghanistan and Pakistan immediately after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He served five years and was recognized for leadership and performance as a U.S. Marine.
Dixon has a Master of Public Administration degree from Missouri State University, a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Missouri – St. Louis and an Associate of Arts in Political Science from St. Charles Community College.
Rob is a native Missourian. He is married to Melanie, and they have one son, Eddie.
Lt. Col. Justin Secrest, Commander of the 509th Security Forces Squadron (SFS) at Whiteman Air Force Base, has been named SFCC’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award recipient and will address the graduates. He earned an Associate of Arts degree from SFCC in 1993 during his first enlisted assignment at Whiteman.
Under Secrest’s leadership, the 509th SFS defends Stealth Bombers, U.S. resources and the Whiteman community with 24-hour security coverage. The Air Force awarded the 509th SFS the 2017 Air Force Global Strike Command Outstanding Security Forces Unit for exhibiting “unparalleled vigilance in accomplishing their mission.”
Prior to his current assignment at Whiteman that began July 2016, Secrest served as Deputy Commander, 341st Security Forces Group, Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls, Montana. He has served in Air Combat Command, Pacific Air Forces Command, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Space Command and Air Force Global Strike Command in all levels of security forces. From 2007-2008, Secrest served in Iraq as compound commander for over 3,000 detainees.
Secrest holds a Master of Arts in Human Resource Development from Webster University and a Master of Military Studies from Marine Corps University. He is a graduate of FBI National Academy Session 240 and Marine Command and Staff College. He has earned multiple certifications in anti-terrorism and law enforcement and has written multiple articles such as “The Professionalization of Security Forces 1947-2012–Insights for Leaders” and “Media’s Role in Operation Iraqi Freedom Detention Operations.”
In 2001, through the Air Force Officer Training School, Secrest earned a commission, graduating number one out of 305 trainees and earning outstanding graduate status and the Chappie James Leadership Award. In 2000, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies from Regents College and the Community College of the Air Force’s (CCAF) Occupational Instructor Certification. Secrest holds three CCAF Associate of Applied Science degrees: Security Administration, Electronic Systems Technology and Instructor of Technology and Military Science.
A native of Pleasant City, Ohio, Secrest's family includes wife Jenn and three children. Kelis, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, is a Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant Artillery officer. Logan is a senior at Western Kentucky University, and Evelyn is a senior at Knob Noster High School. Secrest enjoys running, golf and playing his guitar – but mostly he loves his family and leading airmen.
As of May 4, 780 degrees and certificates are projected to be awarded to 683 candidates for graduation, including 424 Associate of Arts degrees, 2 Associate of Arts in Art, 34 Associate of Arts in Teaching degrees, 4 Associate of Science degrees, 186 Associate of Applied Science degrees, 105 Professional Certificates, and 25 Skills Certificates.
The numbers include students who attend SFCC on the Sedalia campus and at locations in Boonville, Clinton, Eldon, Lake of the Ozarks, Whiteman Air Force Base, and online. More than 200 students plan to walk in the ceremony.
A commencement and pinning ceremony for Health Sciences graduates will be held at 2 p.m. May 18 in the Fred E. Davis Multipurpose Center on the Sedalia campus. Dr. Andra Ferguson, RDH, LPC, Dental Hygienist, will give the commencement address.
A total of 166 Health Science students are expected to receive degrees or certificates in these programs: Associate Degree Nursing, 61; Practical Nursing, 56; Dental Hygiene, 9; Diagnostic Medical Sonography, 11; and Radiologic Technology, 15,
SFCC’s Adult Education and Literacy graduation will be held at 1 p.m. May 19 in the Davis Center. Participants who have passed the High School Equivalency exam and who have earned their United States citizenship will be recognized.
Commencement will be held at 6 p.m. May 21 for students who attended classes on SFCC’s Whiteman Air Force Base campus in Knob Noster. Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC president, will be the speaker.