University News

WIU Fall 2019 College, Departmental, Honors Scholars

December 3, 2019


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MACOMB, IL - Six students participating in Western Illinois University's Fall 2019 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies, Dec. 14 have received the highest recognition from their colleges for their overall academic excellence by being named College Scholars.

The 5:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13 Academic Honors Convocation in Western Hall will honor College, Departmental and Honors scholars and students who have earned academic distinction throughout their Western Illinois University careers. Students will receive a medallion for each honor, which they will wear at Commencement ceremonies.

Faculty in each of Western Illinois University's four academic colleges; the School of Global Education and Outreach and the Centennial Honors College select a graduating senior as the college's outstanding student. Students graduating as College Scholars have satisfied the criteria of excellence established by their individual academic college's faculty members. A Departmental Scholar is an outstanding degree candidate in an academic major as determined by the faculty in the major department. An Honors Scholar is a student in the Centennial Honors College who has completed a set of honors requirements and has achieved a grade point average of at least 3.4 on a 4.0 scale.

Approximately 10 percent of graduating seniors achieve academic distinction, which is designated as Summa Cum Laude, highest academic distinction, with a minimum grade point average of 3.90; Magna Cum Laude, high academic distinction, with a GPA of 3.75-3.89; and Cum Laude, academic distinction, with a GPA between 3.60-3.74.

Convocation Speaker

School of Law Enforcement and Justice Administration (LEJA) Honors Scholar Leah Murphy (Elgin, IL) is the convocation speaker and will deliver "No Courage Without Fear." She will graduate with a bachelor's degree in LEJA with high academic distinction, Magna Cum Laude.


College of Arts and Sciences Scholar


Lyndisty M. Littell (Bloomington, IL) graduates with a bachelor's degree in anthropology with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. She is also the Anthropology Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar. Her academic interests include the archaeology of various regions, learning about cultures that there is little written documentation on and what archaeological finds can be found under water. She is a member of UNITY, WIU's LGBT*QIA+ organization, serving as president and vice president; Amtgard, the live action role playing group on campus; and the Western Anthropology and Sociology Club, where she serves as treasurer. After graduation, Littell plans to attend graduate school, pursuing a dgree in maritime or underwater archaeology. She is the daughter of Louis Littell and Rebecca Barekman.


Business and Technology Scholar

Dakota W. Hicks
(Carthage, IL) graduates with a bachelor's degree in finance, with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. He is also the Finance Departmental Scholar. His academic interests include investment valuations, real estate, corporate structuring, accounting principles and general finance. He is also currently enrolled in the integrated MBA program at WIU and will continue to study supply chain management until the end of 2020. Outside of WIU, Hicks is studying for his lean six sigma green belt certification and will begin the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in December. At WIU, Hicks is a member of Beta Gamma Sigma; Phi Kappa Phi, the Scuba Club and the Outdoorsman's Club, previously serving as treasurer. Before coming to WIU, Hicks spent six years in the U.S. Marine Corps., deploying three times to a total of 14 countries, including the war in Afghanistan. After graduation, Hicks plans to pursue entrepreneurship full time and continue to build real estate investing systems. He would also like to transition to work with local governments to provide community development services aimed at increasing personal financial education for the disadvantaged population. He is the son of Christal and Robert Hicks.


Education and Human Services Scholar

Alicia Dierikx
(Coal Valley, IL) graduates with a bachelor's degree in recreation, park and tourism administration. She is also the Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration Departmental Scholar. Her academic interests include recreation, park, tourism and event planning and she is working on an independent study on how harsh weather conditions impact people's ability to stay active and enjoy their leisure activities. Dierikx is the president of the Student Recreation Association at WIU's Quad Cities campus and has been part of the group for the last two years. She is also active in several off-campus organizations and programs, including Main Street Orion, and she completed an internship at the Quad City Botanical Center, after which she was asked to serve on the organization's education, events and volunteerism board. She has also volunteered for the Quad City Marathon and the Peoria Junior League's Frolic with Fairies event, and as a volunteer coach for several Orion club soccer teams. After graduation, Dierikx said she plans to continue her education at WIU's Quad Cities campus in the integrated master's degree RPTA program. She hopes to then gain experience in the field and then pursue a doctoral degree.


Fine Arts and Communication Scholar

Sara Devine
(New Berlin, IL) graduates with a bachelor's degree in music education, with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. She is also the Music Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar. Her academic interests include learning about other cultures and languages, and she is interested in the field of ethnomusicology and the social role music plays in a community. Devine has served as president and treasurer of WIU's National Association for Music Education chapter; musical director, accompanist and treasurer of Sigma Alpha Iota, a music fraternity and a student vice-president for the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. While studying abroad in Ghana, Devine participated in service learning, volunteering at an orphanage for children whose parents are missing and who have learning disabilities. While at WIU, Devine worked in the cataloguing and acquisitions department of the Leslie F. Malpass Library. After graduation, Devine will begin teaching music at Baldwin Elementary School in Quincy, IL. She also hopes to participate in the Quincy Symphony Orchestra and Quincy Concert Band and to later pursue her master's and doctoral degrees. She is the daughter of Shawn DeVillez and Timothy Devine.


Distance Learning, International Studies and Outreach Scholar 

Troy Rhoads
(Macomb, IL) graduates with a bachelor's degree in general studies, with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. He is also the General Studies Departmental Scholar. Rhoads' academic interests include management, facilities and construction. He is currently the interim director of WIU's Facilities Management department. He serves as co-chair of the campus sustainability committee, the committee on campus planning and usage and was inducted into the SALUTE Veteran's Honor Society. Off campus, he is involved with VFW Post 1921, American Legion Post 6, the Flags of Love Committee, the Macomb Bomber Booster Committee and the Macomb Public Building Commission. He also volunteers at St. Paul's Church and the For Macomb all-volunteer effort. He is a veteran of the U.S. Navy. After graduation, Rhoads is considering graduate school or would like to begin teaching.


Centennial Honors College Scholar

Christopher A. Wagner
(Lena, IL) graduates with a bachelor's degree in law enforcement and justice administration, with high academic distinction, magna cum laude. He is also an Honors Scholar. He is a member of the SALUTE Veteran's National Honor Society, serving as vice president, Alpha Phi Sigma National Criminal Justice Honor Society and received two certificates of commendation from the Marine Corps. At WIU, he is a member of the Veteran's Club, raising money for the Great Peoria Honor Flight; the Food and Culture Club and Lambda Alpha Epsilon. He completed an internship with the McDonough County Sheriff's Department and was offered a part-time job in the county jail. After graduation, he hopes to get a job as a federal law enforcement officer and is currently interviewing with three federal agencies.


Illinois
Adams
Liberty (62347)
—Cory L. W. Clark, Network Technologies Departmental Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Carroll County
Mt. Carroll (61053)
—Quinn Rumler, Honors Scholar, History Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude


Cook County
Chicago (60645)
—Rachel Cheng, music, Honors Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude
Chicago (60646)—Lawrence James Walls, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar
Wheeling (60090)—Itzel A. Lopez, Honors Scholar, Foreign Languages and Cultures Departmental Scholar

DeKalb County
Sycamore (60178)
—Kyle W. Trousil, law enforcement and justice administration, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

DuPage County
Darien (60561)
—Michael S. Zack, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Lisle (60532)—Tomas E. Kuliavas, recreation, park and tourism administration, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude
Woodridge (60517)—Madalyn Anderson, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar

Fulton County
Astoria (61501)
—Abbie J. Heitz, Special Education Departmental Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude; Abbey W. Schaeffer, elementary education, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude
Canton (61520)—Addison M. Hammond, English, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude; Donna J. Breedlove, Speech Pathology and Audiology Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Cuba (61427)—Payton R. Reed, Elementary Education Departmental Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Lewistown (61542)—Julia E. Curless, speech pathology and audiology, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude
Smithfield (61477)—Ty B. Huston, finance, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Hancock County
Carthage (62321)
—James R. Boyles, accountancy, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Hamilton (62341)—Shawn S. Ferdig, computer science, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Plymouth (62367)—Braelynn L. Beeler, marketing, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude; Tucker E. Lee, marketing, Honors Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Henry County
Colona (61241)
—Jean Clark, Human Resource Management Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Galva (61434)—Erika Olson, Honors Scholar, Chemistry Departmental Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude
Geneseo (61254)—Lindsey E. Bideaux, Communication Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Kewanee (61443)—Gregory A. Wyman, Engineering Technology Departmental Scholar
Lynn Center (61262)—Madison N. Andrae, agriculture, Honors Scholar

Jo Daviess County
Galena (62088)
—Adria G. Ramey, biology, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Kane County
Elgin (60124)
—Leah Murphy, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Kankakee County
Grant Park (60940)
—Emily Reichert, accountancy, Honors Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Knox County
Galesburg (61401)
—Alexandra J. Bledsoe, accountancy, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Lake County
Buffalo Grove (60089)
—Kevin M. Tracz, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Lake Zurich (60047)—Adam D. Fackler, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar
Lindenhurst (60046)—Ethan Massie, Computer Science Departmental Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude; John Michael Ott, Broadcasting Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Lasalle County
Earlville (60518)
—Jonathan M. McConville, agriculture, Honors Scholar
Mendota (61342)—Allison C. Hawbaker, music, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Peru (61354)—Joshua R. Ferrari, law enforcement and justice administration, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Lee County
Dixon (61021)
—Alexander K. Knack, psychology, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Livingston County
Odell (60460)
—Michael T. C. Doran, Law Enforcement and Justice Administration Departmental Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude

Macoupin County
Staunton (62088)
—Joshua C. Franke, accountancy, Accountancy Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

McDonough County
Blandinsville (61420)
—McKenzie L. Cullen-Rockwood, recreation, park and tourism administration, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Bushnell (61422)—Rebekah L. Eden, music, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Industry (61440)—Nolan C. Groenewold, computer science, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Macomb (61455)—Joseph A. Turk, English Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude; Allison C. Carlsen, English, Honors Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude; Hind Abdelgadir Ali, Mathematics Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude; James W. Hoerdeman, engineering technology, Honors Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude; Gabriel E. Thompson, recreation, park and tourism administration, Honors Scholar; Heather E. Johnson, music, Honors Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude

McHenry County
Huntley (60142)
—Emma D. Kovachevich, music, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
McHenry (60050)—Jake Bussa, computer science, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude; Colleen A. Gaborek, law enforcement and justice administration, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude; Alexandria C. Hulen, music, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Spring Grove (60081)—Joshua J. Newton, supply chain management, Honors Scholar
Wonder Lake (60097)—Branden Kmetz, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar

McLean County
Heyworth (61745)
—Paige R. Woods, Musical Theatre Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Monroe County
Columbia (62236)
—Claire E. Ryterski, music, Honors Scholar

Ogle County
Byron (61010)
—Payton M. Abbott, social Work Departmental Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Mount Morris (61054)—Kelsey A. Pudlas, music, Honors Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Polo (61064)—Amanda LaPage, Honors Scholar, Forensic Chemistry Departmental Scholar

Paitt County
Monticello (61856)
—Emily L. Davis, law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar

Peoria County
Edwards (61528)
—Ashley L. Wetherill, special education, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Peoria (61607)—Diana M. DeFelice-Pirro, Physical Education K-12 Departmental Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Trivoli (61569)—Michael J. Button, supply chain management, Honors Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Rock Island County
Milan (61264)
—Jacob Sneade, Information Systems Departmental Scholar, Honors Scholar, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude
Moline (61265)—Kaitlyn M. Stewart, communication, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude; Jason R. Welvaert, English, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude
Rock Island (61201)—Kathleen R. Hougland, Theatre Departmental Scholar, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Taylor Ridge (61284)—Daniel Kellogg, history, Honors Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Sangamon County
Springfield (62711)
—Emily N. Stieren, broadcasting, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Stark County
Wyoming (61491)
—Victoria A. Harmon, Art Departmental Scholar, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Stephenson County
Lena (61048)
—Christopher A. Wagner, Jr., law enforcement and justice administration, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

St. Clair County
Belleville (62226)
—Aigne' M. Thompson, law enforcement and justice administration, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Tazewell County
East Peoria (61611)
—Kelsey Fay, Biology Departmental Scholar
Green Valley (61534)—Amber Lynn-Hope Autrey, elementary education, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Warren County
Monmouth (61462)
—Nichole Trias, general studies, Honors Scholar

Whiteside County
Prophetstown (61277)
—Pedro L. Herrera, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude

Winnebago County
Rockford (61114)
—Timothy N. Trilk, Hospitality Management Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
South Beloit (61080)—Zachary M. Stec, law enforcement and justice administration, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Woodford County
Roanoke (61561)
—Egan J. Roberts, music, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude


OTHER STATES

Colorado
Boulder County
Broomfield (80020)
—Emma T. Ngati, recreation, park and tourism administration, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Florida
Polk County
Babson Park (33827)
—Wyatt L. Spier, Marketing Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Indiana
Marion County
Indianapolis (46250)
—Yenna Cho, music, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Iowa
Des Moines County
Burlington (52601)
—Michelle R. Hall, accountancy, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Scott County
Davenport (52806)
—Delyn Ruser, Management Departmental Scholar
Daveport (52807)—Bailey S. Nelson, elementary education, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude
Eldridge (52748)—Sydney Palmer, Supply Chain Management Departmental Scholar
LeClaire (52753)—Cassondra J. Billingsley, marketing, will graduate with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude

Lee County
Ft. Madison (52627)
—Kristine Roach, history, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude; Keith Andrew Helling, physical education K-12, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Rock Island County
Rock Island (61201)
—Alejandro Rangel, Middle Level Education Departmental Scholar

Michigan
Clinton County
St. Johns (48879)
—Madeline Wilsey, Honors Scholar, Physics Departmental Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Missouri
Audrain County
Laddonia (63352)
—Karissa L. Graves, Agriculture Departmental Scholar, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Butler County
Poplar Bluff (63901)
—Mara McClintock, music, will graduate with academic distinction, cum laude

Ray County
Hardin (64035)
—Crystal M. Brooke, music, Psychology Departmental Scholar, Honors Scholar, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude


International
Albania
—Erik Xhyra, law enforcement and justice administration, will graduate with high academic distinction, magna cum laude

Visit wiu.edu/commencement for more information.

Posted By: WIU News (U-Relations@wiu.edu)
Office of University Relations