WARRENSBURG, MO (Dec. 9, 2014) – The University of Central Missouri will conclude the fall 2014 semester with commencement exercises Friday and Saturday,  Dec. 12-13 in the Multipurpose Building. In addition to conferring degrees on new graduates, the university will present three awards recognizing individuals for exceptional achievements. Some 1,331 students who have met their undergraduate and graduate degree requirements are eligible to participate in the ceremonies.

The graduate ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday kicks off the weekend festivities. The Saturday morning commencement at 10 o’clock will include graduates of the Adrian and Margaret Harmon College of Business and Professional Studies and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences. Graduates honored at 2 p.m. Saturday represent the College of Health, Science, and Technology and the College of Education. UCM President Charles Ambrose will speak about graduate education on Friday, and deliver the commencement address at both undergraduate ceremonies. A special appearance by Daryl Duff, a UCM alumnus who toured the world as a member of the Navy Sea Chanters, is planned for the Saturday afternoon ceremony. He will sing the Alma Mater.

Special awards will be presented during the undergraduate ceremonies. During the 10 a.m. ceremony, Raynetta Godfrey, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business management, will be honored with the Mike Carter Award for Exceptional Service to the University, Community, and Military. At 2 p.m., Joseph Ryan, professor emeritus of psychology, will receive the Distinguished Service Award, and Melissa Tebbenkamp, director of instructional technology for Raytown Quality Schools, will be honored as the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recipient. President Ambrose will publicly recognize each of the major award honorees.

The Mike Carter Award for Exceptional Service to the University, Community, and Military honors a UCM student’s noteworthy efforts in support of initiatives which enhance the relationship between the university, the community, and the United States military. It is named for Mike Carter, a professor emeritus of health education who has dedicated more than 50 years of outstanding service to the university as a teacher, mentor, and role model, in addition to his contributions to organizations benefiting the community and Whiteman Air Force Base.

A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Godfrey juggled coursework with part-time duties assisting other veterans with their education at the UCM Military and Veterans Success Center. She also has a strong record of service through her involvement in organizations such as Zeta Lambda Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, where she served as treasurer, chaplain, sergeant at arms, and chair of fundraising and community service. Her participation led to efforts such as donating hygiene baskets to the local shelter for battered women and to the local shelter for the homeless, Destiny House, as well as donating 900 hours of community service and raising funds to support Warrensburg Parks and Recreation. She also provided community service to benefit the sheltered workshop; participated in singing holiday carols to local nursing homes; coordinated an Easter egg hunt for Big Brothers Big Sisters; and engaged in community service at the Show-Me Christian Youth Home and Ridge Crest Nursing Center. She also volunteered as a tutor at the Student Success Center, assisted with the Veterans Blood Drive, and Mule Haul, raised money for Delta Sigma Theta programs, and served on the National Pan Hellenic Council.

The Distinguished Service Award was established by UCM Board of Governors to recognize individuals who have rendered exemplary and extended services to their communities, the state, and sometimes, throughout the world. The recipients of this award must be people of such integrity, stature, and ability that the UCM faculty, staff, students and alumni take pride and are inspired by their recognition.

UCM students who have benefitted from Ryan’s tutelage praise his contributions as an outstanding classroom teacher and mentor. His reputation for helping students earned him acclaim beyond just the UCM campus with organizations such as the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students – the largest group of psychology students worldwide - honoring him in 2006 with the Raymond D. Fowler Award for his contributions to students’ professional development. Ryan’s work has epitomized the teacher/scholar model, and he has made a difference in the lives of many students through his work in UCM’s Department of Psychological Science. Currently an adjunct faculty member, he became department chair in 1999, and served at that post until his retirement in December 2011. Ryan is a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist. His many accomplishments over the years include mentoring numerous undergraduate and graduate students, presenting research works at professional conferences with students, and co-authoring published manuscripts with them. He supported student research at UCM by helping to develop psychology research labs, and he chaired at least 24 different master’s degree thesis committees. Ryan also created two endowments for the university, one for research awards and one for graduate students, and he established tuition awards to provide financial support for undergraduates.

The Outstanding Recent Alumni Award recognizes any alumnus/a whose endeavors in business, professional, civic, philanthropic organizations, performing arts, public service, volunteer, political or similar activities are worthy of recognition and have brought honor to UCM.

Tebbenkamp graduated from UCM Summa Cum Laude with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education, instructional technology in 2001, and a master’s degree in educational technology in 2003. Combining her passion for education and leadership, she has served as director of instructional technology for Raytown Quality Schools since 2006. In that capacity, she supervises two assistant directors and 27 technicians, and she and her diverse team provide instructional and operational technology leadership while serving 22 facilities, 1,400 staff, and 8,800 students, and managing a budget that exceeds $5 million annually. Under her leadership, her department has been recognized in several national and international industry publications, and Raytown Quality Schools is frequently cited as a reference/model district for many technologies, practices and procedures. Tebbenkamp is one of the first 46 individuals in the nation and one of only three in Missouri to become a Certified Education Technology Leader (CETL) by the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN).  She is a founding member and past chair of the Board of Directors for Missouri Education Technology Leaders, and is moderator and creator of the Missouri Technology Leaders Professional Learning Community. Additionally, she has made presentations for regional, state and national groups dedicated to educational technology, and has advised on several whitepapers and national best practices publications. Earlier this month, she was named to a three-year term on CoSN Board of Directors.

(Courtesy of UCM Public Affairs)

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