Wayne State College held a commencement ceremony for graduate and undergraduate students on Dec. 16 in Rice Auditorium. A total of 296 degrees were conferred.
Those students receiving their degrees included 203 undergraduates and 93 graduate students from the college’s Master of Science in Education, Master of Organizational Management, Master of Business Administration, and Education Specialist programs.
Halle Hiemstra of Wahoo delivered the undergraduate commencement address. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She is the daughter of Kirk and Amy Hiemstra.
Hiemstra was a Neihardt Scholar, one of Wayne State’s marquee scholarship programs, and was a member of the Wildcat Academy of Leadership and Knowledge (WALK) and the Honors Program.
She served as a Wayne State Navigator as part of the team of students who work for the admissions office, and was active with the Newman Club and Wildcat PR, the student public relations club.
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Hiemstra said she plans to enter the workforce in Lincoln this spring. She and her fiancé, Tommy Benes, plan to marry in March and hope to do mission work together for a few years, starting in May 2023, before moving back to the Wahoo area near their families to fully pursue their careers.
Laura Robinett received the Alumni Achievement Award during the ceremony. She graduated from Wayne State in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, with a journalism concentration and a double minor in art and online media. She graduated with her Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree during the ceremony.
After earning her bachelor’s degree, she started a portrait and event photography business in Wayne, LMB Visual Creations, and at the same time returned to Wayne State to work in the Departments of Art & Design and Music as an office assistant. She was hired as the director of alumni relations with the Wayne State Foundation in 2016, where she developed her passion for philanthropy in higher education. She served in that position for four years before being promoted in 2020 to director of major gifts within the foundation.
After five and a half years at the Wayne State Foundation, she was hired as the vice president for institutional advancement for Midland University in September 2021. In this role, Robinett sits on Midland’s senior leadership team and leads the development of the strategic plan for advancement, alumni relations, and annual giving initiatives, and executes fundraising for a comprehensive capital campaign. She also earned the designation of certified fund-raising executive this year.
Robinett is an advocate for volunteerism and giving back to the community. While in Wayne, she served as the secretary for the Wayne Area Economic Development Board of Directors, and was a member of the Wayne Kiwanis Club, Wayne Young Professionals, and member of two committees within the Wayne Chamber of Commerce. She currently serves as a board member for the Greater Fremont Development Council, and a member of the planning committee for the ELCA College & Seminary Advancement Vice Presidents Annual Conference.
Originally from rural central Nebraska and a graduate of Chambers High School, Robinett is the daughter of Jim and Jennifer Burtwistle. She and her partner, Ryan Jensen, live north of Lincoln.
Following is the list of area graduates, sorted by hometown with undergraduates first, followed by the graduate students. The degree and the major are noted after the name. Minors and supplemental endorsements for undergraduates are noted in italics.
Arlington: Christian Donnelly, Bachelor of Science, Computer Information Systems/Programmer/Analyst, Computer Science; Madelyn Von Seggern, Bachelor of Science, Family and Consumer Sciences/Occupational Education.
Craig: Marcos Quintero, Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, Special Education Generalist K-6, Coaching.
Dodge: Kierra Stewart, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, Business Administration.
Fremont: Amber Adams, Bachelor of Science, Criminal Justice, Pre-Law; Andrea Garcia, Bachelor of Science, Chemistry/Health Sciences, Criminal Justice; Jared Gibney, Bachelor of Science, Engineering Technology, Safety Management; Myah Gibney, Bachelor of Arts, Secondary English Education, Theatre Education; Nicholas Henkenius, Bachelor of Science, Health and Physical Education PK-12, Coaching; Emilee Klahn, Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, English as a Second Language PK-12, Coaching; Rylee Williams, Bachelor of Science, Sport Management, Criminal Justice.
Oakland: Grace Pille, Bachelor of Science, Family and Consumer Sciences/Occupational Education; Ellie Weitzenkamp, Bachelor of Science, Family and Consumer Sciences/Interior Design, Drafting, Business Administration.
Wahoo: Halle Hiemstra, Bachelor of Science, Business Administration/Marketing; Morgan Marotz, Bachelor of Science, Elementary Education, Special Education Generalist K-6, Coaching; Anastasia Peetzke, Bachelor of Science, Early Childhood and Family Studies.
West Point: Jared Minnick, Bachelor of Science, Science Education.
Hooper: Brooke Gebers, Master of Science in Education, School Administration/Educational Leadership 7-12; Kaitlin Kamin, Master of Science in Organizational Management, Human Resource Management.
Waterloo: Paxton Johnson, Master of Science in Education, Special Education Generalist; Allisa Olson, Master of Science in Education, Special Education Generalist.
West Point: Bridget Doyle, Master of Science in Education, School Administration/Educational Leadership 7-12.