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Commencement ceremonies are this weekend

May 8, 2015

Stephens College President Dianne Lynch will confer nearly 200 bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and post-baccalaureate certificates during two Commencement ceremonies this weekend.

The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. on Saturday at Missouri Theatre in downtown Columbia. In lieu of a speaker, Lynch will present a video tribute to the graduating class featuring memories and thoughts from graduates and faculty.

The student speaker this year is Nickie Bartels, winner of the 2015 Alumnae Association Board Scholarship. Bartels is graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Strategic Communication: Integrated Marketing with a minor in Women’s Studies. At Stephens, she’s served as executive editor of Stephens Life magazine; an account executive, copy editor and social media manager for Creative Ink, the student-run marketing firm; and as a resident director. She was chapter president of the Mortar Board, a national honor society and was Stephens’ delegate last year to the Women in Public Service Project’s International Conference. Off campus, she is a strategic communications intern at New Chapter Coaching in Columbia.

Lesta NewBerry, president of the senior class, will also share some thoughts. NewBerry is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies with minors in legal studies and media studies. In addition to serving as senior class president, she is president of the Stephens College Young Democrats, Co-Chief of Justice on the Stephens College Judicial Board and a student member of the College’s Diversity Coalition. She is social media coordinator for the Human Experience student club; has served on the curriculum committee; and has spearheaded numerous panels, keynote speakers and other events on campus. She’s also a member of the Stephens golf team and works as a career associate for the Center for Career and Professional Development. Off campus, NewBerry has been a legislative intern for the Office of Senator Claire McCaskill in Washington, D.C. and is currently policy assistant at Renew Missouri, a Columbia-based organization that promotes energy efficiency.
NewBerry represented “Intelligence,” one of the College’s Ten Ideals, this year.

The graduate and online ceremony starts at 6 p.m. today in the Kimball Ballroom of Lela Raney Wood Hall on the Stephens campus. Teresa Rouse Maledy, a Stephens alumna and trustee, will be the keynote speaker. Maledy is president and CEO of Commerce Bank, Central Missouri Region. She’s been with the bank for more than 34 years, and was the organization’s first female bank president. In her role, she’s responsible for leading all facets of retail and commercial operations in Central Missouri. Maledy is the recipient of the Stephens College Alumnae Achievement Award, the Columbia Public School Foundation Distinguished Alumna Award, the Chamber of Commerce’s Citizen of the Year Award, as well as the Chamber’s Athena Award, the NAACP Roy Wilkins Award for Community Service, the Stephens College Alumnae Service Award and the 2014 Greater Missouri Leadership Woman of the Year Award.

Katie Ellis will serve as the student speaker. She started the Master of Education in Counseling program in July 2013. Just a month later, Stephens, the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Sedalia School District granted her provisional certification to being a school counseling-in-training position at Smith-Cotton High School.

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