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College of Professional Studies honors students at graduation celebration dinner

College of Professional Studies honors students at graduation celebration dinner

CPS valedictorians Broderick Lothringer and Michelle Bliemeister

The College of Professional Studies hosted their annual graduation celebration dinner Friday evening, recognizing 84 students who will receive their bachelor’s degree at Commencement on Saturday. Friends and family of students were invited to attend the dinner, which was held at Perry Memorial Campus Center in Crete.


Faculty and staff from the College of Professional Studies were in attendance, including Dr. Lorie Cook-Benjamin, dean of CPS, who will participate in her first May commencement ceremony at Doane this weekend.


In addition to Friday's dinner recognizing undergraduate students, CPS also hosted receptions for graduate students who will be graduating on Saturday, including a Master of Arts in Management reception that was held Sunday evening.


“Each of these events is developed to honor the unique qualities of those graduating and to celebrate their uniqueness with their families,” Cook-Benjamin said. “Friday’s event was a wonderful way to celebrate and appreciate students’ achievements as well as faculty and staff who helped the students reach this important milestone.”


Angie Klasek, executive campus director of the College of Professional Studies, helped organize Friday’s event. Klasek said it is always rewarding to recognize students who have put in years of hard work and dedication toward earning their degree, noting the majority of adult learners are students that work full-time, have families, and are involved in their community.


“The greatest reward we receive is celebrating the achievements of the students,” Klasek said. “It’s bittersweet because some of these students have been a part of the Doane family for many years. One student told me how incredibly emotional she was last week when she walked out of the Fred D. Brown Center at the completion of her last class. The relationships the students have with each other, the faculty, and staff are the hallmark of the Doane experience.”


A number of students were recognized Friday evening, including seven students who have served or are currently serving in the military. Those soon-to-be-graduates are Jennifer Fotinos (Army National Guard), Kimberly McGill (U.S. Military Police), Terry Hall (Army), Martin Antholz (Air Force), Martha Pennington (Navy) Linwood Bowers, Jr. (Marines), and Nathan Woods (Army).


Brodrick Lothringer was honored as valedictorian of the Omaha campus and Michelle Bliemeister was honored as valedictorian of the Lincoln campus.


“It feels so great to be a Doane graduate,” Bliemeister said. “Going through Doane has meant a lot more than what I expected it would when I first started taking classes. Being able to show my kids the importance of earning a degree is a great feeling.”


Ten students were also recognized as recipients of the first annual Janice Hadfield Scholar award. The award honors Hadfield, who served as dean of the College of Professional Studies from 1986-2016. The Hadfield Scholar Leader award recognizes students who have shown superior academic performance, leadership, and have demonstrated commitment to community volunteerism.


The first recipients of the Janice Hadfield Scholar Leader award are: Cassandra Baier, Michelle Bliemeister, Colleen Church, Jennifer Fotinos, Darcie Hagstrom, Brodrick Lothringer, Jessica Moock, Larissa Resendiz de Moguel, Trisha Seidl, and Nathan Woods. The students received a certificate and a white cord to wear at graduation in recognition of their accomplishments.


Commencement for College of Professional Studies students will be held Saturday at 10 a.m. in Cassel Open Air Theatre at the College of Arts and Sciences campus in Crete.