The Woods' first winter commencement

December 15th, 2012 | SMWC

Dottie King and Jennie Mitchell

Commencement speaker Jennie Mitchell,
Ph.D. (right), with SMWC President Dottie
L. King, Ph.D.

Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College graduates officially turned their tassels and received their diplomas during the institution's first winter commencement ceremony. For the first time in the College’s 172-year history, administrators, faculty, staff, students and parents were on hand to take part in the event that was held due to the increased number of graduates and their families during the spring commencement. More than 90 students from 10 states and Canada received their diplomas ranging from the associate's degree level to master’s degree level.

Jennie Mitchell, Ph.D., professor of business at SMWC delivered a moving commencement address. Mitchell earned her Ph.D. in curriculum, instruction and media technology from Indiana State University and holds advance professional credentials as a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Management Accountant.

Mitchell urged the graduates to seize success. “Be innovative, entrepreneurial, respectful, courageous and empathetic. Seize success but not at the cost of your heritage. Success is not about money; instead it’s a life journey that is measured by the people you touch, the good things you do, and happiness you bring to yourself and to those around you.”

Tonia Babb
Tonia Babb

Full of excitement, Woods Online graduate Tonia Babb said, “Today means everything to me.” The mathematics major from West Lafayette, Ind., added, “God put me at The Woods at the right time in my life.” Babb will enjoy the holidays with her husband and three boys before beginning her new job as a mathematics teacher at Harrison High School in West Lafayette. 

“I am so excited to finally graduate,” said Angela Eisenbeis, from St. Louis, Mo., a digital media communications major. Reflecting on her four years, she added, “It’s been a great experience and I’ve made so many friends.”

Alumni Leadership and Service Awards

During the ceremony, the College recognized students who have distinguished themselves in leadership and exceptional service while students. The Alumni Leadership and Service Awards were awarded to an undergraduate and a graduate student.

Nicole Coutlangus

The 2012 undergraduate recipient of the Alumni Leadership and Service Award has had a unique Woods experience as both a Woods Online student and an on-campus intern. Nicole Coutlangus, from Melbourne, Fla., served the College as a journalist for Woods publications and local media, and eagerly helped other students and visitors find their way on campus. She has owned her own small business, and volunteers in her spare time at local charity festivals in her community in Florida. She has been described as a “Woods woman” who is compassionate and forthright, and will undoubtedly use her education for the greater good.

DarlaHopper.jpgThe 2012 graduate recipient of the Alumni Leadership and Service award has directly impacted The Woods community through her work. During her time as a student, Darla Hopper, from Terre Haute, Ind., has led the Financial Aid Office through federal audits, and has provided an excellent financial aid experience for Woods students. Hopper’s staff describes her as an effective leader who approaches her work and service with a positive viewpoint.

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