U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill to Present Commencement Address
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. – A total of 740 students – 574 undergraduate and 118 graduate and specialist students, and four cooperative doctoral students – will receive degrees at Southeast Missouri State University’s winter commencement exercises at 2 p.m. Dec. 21 in the Show Me Center.
U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill will deliver the commencement address.
An Honors Convocation will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center to honor 201 undergraduates, 43 receiving master’s degrees and nine receiving specialist degrees. Dr. Mike Aide will present the Honors Convocation address. Aide is professor of agriculture and chair of the Department of Agriculture at Southeast. He is the 2013 recipient of the University’s Faculty Merit Award.
Among the undergraduate students at the Honors Convocation, 39 students will graduate summa cum laude (3.9 to 4.0 cumulative grade point average); 48 will graduate magna cum laude (3.75 to 3.89 cumulative grade point average); and 96 will graduate cum laude (3.5 to 3.74 cumulative grade point average). Of the 43 graduate and specialist students at the Honors Convocation, 37 will graduate with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Graduate students participating in the Honors Convocation must have achieved at least a 3.9 grade point average.
Ten undergraduate students with a perfect 4.0 grade point average will be honored at commencement.
The Southeast Brass Quintet, under the coordination of Marc Fulgham, will perform during the commencement ceremony. Singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the Alma Mater will be Megan Statler, a graduating senior from Perryville, Mo., who will receive a Bachelor of Music in performance, vocal option.
The commencement speaker, McCaskill became the first woman from Missouri elected to the U.S. Senate.
As senator, McCaskill waged a successful six-year effort to rein in wasteful wartime contracting practices in Iraq and Afghanistan. Her signature legislation implementing historic wartime contracting reforms was signed into law at the end of her last term and her efforts led to the creation of a new Senate panel charged with contracting oversight.
McCaskill drew on her personal commitment to America’s military veterans, helping pass the 21st Century GI Bill, and establishing a veterans' "secret shopper" program to improve health care services for Missouri's veterans. Following reports of neglect, she pushed for the removal of Army officials managing Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Shortly after, she led the successful effort to reform management of Arlington National Cemetery after disclosures of mismarked gravesites. She teamed up with her Republican colleagues to establish a ban on Congressional earmarks, and has helped lead efforts to repeal automatic pay raises for Congress. She also authorized a bill to impose a cap on federal discretionary spending – legislation which came within one vote of Senate passage.
McCaskill also is credited with leading a successful battle to protect dozens of small town post offices threatened with closures.
Following her re-election in 2012, her oversight panel was expanded into a permanent subcommittee charged with protecting taxpayer dollars and investigating waste, fraud and abuse at every federal agency. A recognized technology leader who communicates directly with constituents via Twitter, a social networking site, she was named chairperson of the Commerce Subcommittee on Consumer Protection. In the first year of her second term, she launched investigations into areas including fraudulent robocalls, financial management at the U.S. Energy Department, inaccuracies on credit reports, security clearance background checks and the Pentagon's troubled POW/MIA-recovery program.
As a senior member of the Armed Services Committee, McCaskill drew upon her years as a courtroom prosecutor in leading efforts to curb sexual assaults in the United States Armed Forces, advocating for sweeping changes to the military justice system to protect and empower survivors and hold perpetrators and commanders accountable.
McCaskill earned undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Upon graduation, she started work as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City, eventually serving as a felony courtroom prosecutor specializing in sex crimes and arson cases.
In 1982, she was elected to the Missouri State Legislature, where she chaired the General Assembly’s Civil and Criminal Justice Committee, helping shape the state’s criminal justice system to better protect Missouri’s families and improve safety in their communities.
McCaskill, in 1992, was the first woman to be elected as Jackson County prosecutor. She won re-election and served as Jackson County prosecutor until 1999, when she was sworn in as Missouri state auditor. As auditor, she expanded her work beyond traditional financial audits to include performance audits to root out fraud and abuse of power in state agencies and organizations. She also conducted reviews of the effectiveness of Missouri's Sunshine Law, education funding and the rise in student loan and college tuition rates in the state. In 2004, McCaskill became the first person in Missouri history to defeat a sitting governor in a primary election.
For families unable to attend the Honors Convocation or commencement ceremony or who wish to preserve the moment, a DVD of either event may be ordered by contacting Dr. Jim Dufek at (573) 651-2484.