MACOMB/MOLINE, IL – Six students graduating from Western Illinois University at the end of the Spring 2020 semester have received the highest recognition from their colleges for their overall academic excellence by being named a College Scholar.
The Spring 2020 Commencement and Scholars ceremonies, originally scheduled for May 8-10, have been canceled based on guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Faculty in each of the University’s four academic colleges; Global Education and Outreach and the Centennial Honors College each 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.
College of Arts and Sciences Scholar
Hayden Golemon (Brimfield, IL) graduates with a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and cultures, with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. He is also the Foreign Languages and Cultures Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar. At Western, he was a member of the track team, and served on the Student Government Association as a Senator-at-Large and a member of the Finance Committee; a member of the a cappella group “InVoxicated”; a member of the Lincoln Laureate Selection Committee; and the CAS Student Council representative to the CAS Faculty Council. After graduation, Golemon plans to attend law school and eventually work for the U.S. Justice Department. He is the son of Thomas and Joan Golemon.
College of Business and Technology Scholar
Kathryn Curry (Marietta, IL) graduates with a bachelor’s degree in graphic communication. She is also the Graphic Communication Departmental Scholar. At Western, Curry, a non-traditional student, works full time in WIU’s Financial Aid Office as an adviser. She previously worked in the WIU Office of Admissions and in the Career Development Center. Curry is a member of the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success and Lambda Pi Eta. After graduation, she will begin working toward her master’s degree in Instructional Design and Technology. She is the daughter of Terri Hare.
College of Education and Human Services Scholar
Kelsi E. DeNoyer (Davenport, IA) graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Recreation, Park and Tourism Administration (RPTA) with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. She is also the RPTA Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar. At Western, DeNoyer is part of the Student Recreation Association (SRA) and the Centennial Honors College. Off campus, she is part of the Nahant Marsh Education Center and has served as an AmeriCorps Environmental Educator, working to ensure STEM, conservation, community and healthy-living values in her programs. She has also volunteered with the Davenport Handicapped Development Center. After graduation, DeNoyer will continue her education toward a master’s degree in RPTA, and eventually hopes to work full-time as an environmental educator. She is the daughter of Jim and Chanda Massengale.
College of Fine Arts and Communication Scholar
Paula Ramirez (Roselle, IL) graduates with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and in music, with highest academic distinction, summa cum laude. She is also the Psychology Departmental Scholar and the Music Departmental Scholar and an Honors Scholar. At Western, Ramirez is a student vice president with Phi Kappa Phi, and is a member of the Music Therapy Association (president); the Centennial Honors College (Honors Ambassador); Badminton Club; the Golden Key Honors Society; the WIU Symphony Orchestra; Wind Ensemble, Concert Band and Concert Choir. After graduation, Ramirez plans to complete a music therapy internship in a hospice care facility and pursue a clinical psychology degree with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy. Ramirez is the daughter of Hugo Ramirez and Amparo Fernandez.
Centennial Honors College Scholar
Noe Jurado (Aurora, IL) graduates with a bachelor’s degree in art, with high academic distinction magna cum laude. He is also an Honors Scholar. At Western, Jurado was the social chair, external vice president and president of Alpha Psi Lambda, Inc.; was education chair of AMPLIFY; a member of the Latin American Student Association; and was a Student Government Senator and student leader for the Casa Latina Cultural Center. He has also volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of America; the WIU Multicultural Center; the WIU Department of Art’s First Wednesdays; Genesis Garden, the Westley Village Retirement Center and Mt. Calvary Church. After graduation, his plan is to pursue a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree at WIU.
Global Education and Outreach Scholar
Kelli Thompson (Alton, IL) graduates with a bachelor’s degree in general studies. She is also the General Studies Departmental Scholar. Thompson is a non-traditional student and is a member of the Omega Nu Lambda National Honor Society; the Golden Key National Honor Society; was the 2018 winner of the Bruce H. Leland Essay Contest and is full-time sales manager of HDIS in St. Louis, MO. After graduation, Thompson hopes to continue her education to pursue a master’s degree in Psychology.