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Doane Commencement spans May 17-18

Doane College will mark Commencement 2014 with a weekend of activities, culminating in the commencement ceremony Sunday, May 18. More than 650 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded during the college's annual Commencement celebration in Cassel Open Air Theatre on Doane College’s campus in Crete.  

Commencement begins at 10 a.m. for the School of Graduate & Professional Studies and Graduate Studies in Education, which includes students graduating from the Lincoln and Grand Island undergraduate and graduate programs. Dr. Helen Abdali Soosan Fagan, a 2008 graduate, will be the keynote speaker for the afternoon ceremony. Fagan is widely known for her expertise in the human resources field and especially for her work in fostering intercultural understanding and promotion of diversity in today’s society.  

This Commencement will mark the first 24 graduates of Doane’s Education Specialist (EdS) program. The EdS is an advanced academic degree designed to prepare students for leadership roles at the district level of the education system, including the superintendency.

Commencement begins at 2:30 p.m. for the School of Arts and Sciences on the Crete campus. Jose Soto, the vice president of Access, Equity and Diversity at Southeast Community College in Lincoln, will be the keynote speaker. Soto is a 25-year professional in mental health and education, serving as an educator, administrator and consultant in public education and mental health roles.  Soto will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Doane. A lawn reception will follow the ceremony.

In the event of heavy rain, Commencement will be moved to the George and Sally Haddix Recreation & Athletic Center. Any rain plans will be announced the day of the ceremony and posted on Doane College’s website. Each graduate was provided four rain tickets in the event the ceremony is moved indoors. Other family and friends may watch remotely from Heckman Auditorium inside the Communications Building.

Live streaming of Commencement is also available through LiveStream. To view the broadcast, users will need to create a free account with LiveStream.

Commencement weekend activities also include:

Saturday, May 17
10:30 a.m. - Baccalaureate service, Heckman Auditorium
7 p.m. - President's Concert, Heckman Auditorium
For more information, please contact the Advancement Office at 402.826.8258.

Speaker bios:

Helen Abdali Soosan Fagan, Ph.D. ’08A

Helen Professional Photo.jpgDr. Helen Abdali Soosan Fagan is widely known for her expertise in the human resources field and especially for her work in fostering intercultural understanding and promotion of diversity in today’s society. Helen was born in Iran and moved to England at the age of 12, and later to the United States where she graduated high school at the age of 16 and finished her first college degree at 18. Helen has a bachelor of arts in human resource management from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Master of Arts in Management from Doane College. She recently completed a Doctorate in Leadership Education at UNL. 

She has been an active member of the Lincoln community as a fellow of Leadership Lincoln and former board member of Clinic with a Heart Board, YWCA, Food Bank of Lincoln, Lincoln Journal Star Diversity Council, Lincoln/Lancaster County Women’s Commission, Child Guidance Center Board, and Adult Basic Education Advisory Board at Southeast Community College. Helen was instrumental in the development of the Interpreter Training Program at SCC, and has helped address employment and healthcare needs of refugees and immigrants by her involvement in our community. In 2000, Helen created and led the first-ever Diversity and Cultural Competence programs at Bryan Health System, which became a nationally recognized hospital diversity initiative. Today, Helen is teaching part time at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and provides consulting to organizations and colleges including the Leading Edge in the Master of Arts in Management at Doane College, Masters Programs at Clarkson College, and Bryan College of Health Sciences.

Helen has used her unique experiences to help others. From her first volunteer role as the ombudsman for the USS Raleigh, for which she received a Letter of Commendation from the Admiral of the Navy, to her efforts in helping Bryan’s nurses from the Philippines learn how to live successful lives in the United States, to helping refugees settle in Lincoln; Helen has been a dedicated friend to many. For her efforts, in January 2004, Lincoln Mayor Coleen Seng gave Helen a "Key-to-the-City" at the Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast to honor her for her work and commitment to make the dream of Dr. King come true for all people. In October 2005, Helen was awarded the Prestigious YWCA Tribute to Women Award for her dedication to eliminating the barriers for refugees and immigrants to gain access to quality healthcare. In 2013, she received the Exceptional Service Award from the Doane College Alumni Association. 

Helen lives in Lincoln with her husband of 30 years, Scott Fagan. They have two sons: Jonathan and Alan.

Jose J. Soto, J.D.

Jose Soto is Vice President for Access/Equity/Diversity at Southeast Community College in Lincoln. A lifelong advocate for equal opportunity, fairness and human dignity, Jose received a Bachelor of Arts degree JoseWeb.jpg(summa cum laude) from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico–San German in 1975 and a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1984.

Soto has worked in the areas of mental health and education for the past 30 years. He has served as a consultant, educator, practitioner and an administrator at the local and state levels in the public education and mental health sectors. His professional activities have ranged from policy and program development, to pre-service and in-service training, to the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of community and institution-based programs.  From 1992 to the present he has also served as an adjunct faculty member at SCC and Nebraska Wesleyan University, teaching several diversity-related classes each year.  

Since 1992 Soto has planned, developed, and implemented a comprehensive EEO/Diversity program for Southeast Community College. He has also successfully coordinated and implemented efforts in the areas of policy development, training, recruitment/retention of employees, investigating complaints of discrimination and unfair treatment, and ongoing management training and organizational development activities for the college. Soto is a Certified Affirmative Action Professional (American Association for Affirmative Action), a trained mediator and an administrative hearing officer.

During his long career as a human rights advocate and activist, Soto has been a consultant and advisor to many national, regional and community agencies, organizations and service initiatives. He currently serves as an appointee to the Nebraska State Advisory Committee for the U.S. Commission for Civil Rights, is a local board member of the U.S. Selective Service System, and has served on the board of directors of many national and local organizations.

Soto and his wife, Peggy Olson, live in Lincoln where they have two sons, Keaton and Cooper Soto-Olson, and a daughter, Mitchi Soto, and two grandchildren who live in Stratford, Connecticut.