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Bell-Dancy, Kiburz to speak at Commencement

Bell-Dancy, Kiburz to speak at Commencement

Commencement speakers Karen Bell-Dancy and Doug Kiburz

Doane University will recognize graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Professional Studies, and the College of Education at Commencement on Saturday, May 12.

Approximately 460 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be awarded during the university's annual Commencement celebration held in Cassel Open Air Theatre on the Crete campus.

Commencement begins at 10 a.m. for students in the College of Professional Studies and Graduate Studies in Education.

Karen Bell-Dancy, executive director of the YWCA of Lincoln, will serve as the Commencement speaker for the morning ceremony. Bell-Dancy has over 30 years of professional experience in higher and public education. She worked with the University of Missouri-Kansas City's TRIO programs for 13 years and served as the director for distance education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for six years. While at UNL, Bell-Dancy was named Floyd Oldt Boss of the Year in 2009.

She left the public education sector briefly after working at UNL, when she became vice president of diversity and strategic initiatives with LGC, a private, female-owned consulting firm. A native of Kansas City, Missouri, Bell-Dancy has a passion for working and advocating for women, youth, and social justice issues.

Bell-Dancy received the Inspire Women's Award for Excellence in Nonprofits in 2017. She is a firm believer of "lest we forget," which serves as a personal testimony and platform for her work.

The first graduates of Doane's doctorate in education program will be recognized at the morning ceremony. 13 students who first began the program when it was formed in September 2015 will graduate on Saturday. Graduates from the program include individuals who are principals, assistant superintendents, and college professors.

Dr. Cate Sommervold is the director of the program, which offers the highest education degree attainable for professional educators.

For students in the College of Arts and Sciences, Commencement begins at 2:30 p.m.

Dr. Doug Kiburz ’76 will serve as the Commencement speaker for the afternoon ceremony. Dr. Kiburz is a physician and surgeon in the Sedalia, Missouri area, working in multiple roles as orthopedic surgeon at the Missouri Orthopedic Institute, medical director of the physical therapy department at Bothwell Regional Health Center, and director of the total joint center at BRHC.

Dr. Kiburz is a native of Beatrice, Nebraska and graduate of Tri County High School. Dr. Kiburz received his bachelor's degree from Doane in 1976 and graduated with a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha in 1980.

In the event of inclement weather, Commencement will be moved to Fuhrer Fieldhouse. The ceremonies will also be streamed online and may be accessed by going to