May 14, 2014
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University director of public relations, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 First member of family to earn bachelor's degree embraced Baker experience

Baldwin City, Kan. — As the first member of her family to graduate with a bachelor's degree, Baker University senior Denesha Jones will proudly walk across the Collins Center stage on Sunday.Denesha-Jonesforweb

 Originally from St. Louis, Jones learned of Baker while interacting with an admissions representative at a college fair in 2010 during her senior year at Normandy High School.

 "The admissions rep was very convincing, and the visit to the Baldwin City campus sealed the deal," Jones said. "I was the first in my family to actually to leave and go on to college. It was scary at first, but I had a lot of support from my family."

 Jones enrolled as a prenursing major before meeting Jacob Bucher, an associate professor of sociology. By the time her sophomore year was finished, Jones switched majors.

 "Studying sociology appealed to me because of the opportunities for having direct contact with people," Jones said. "I am interested in student affairs and teaching, and sociology has prepared me for both of those careers."

 Jones embraced the Baker experience. A sociology major and psychology minor, Jones was a member of the spirit squad and a resident assistant. She served as secretary of Mungano, Baker's student-run diversity organization, her sophomore year. She also participated in Serve 2 Succeed, a mentor program funded through AmeriCorps Kansas and Kansas Campus Compact in 2011-2012.

 "I really enjoyed working in student affairs and being a resident assistant because you can help students transition to college life and reach their full potential," Jones said.

 Jones enjoyed connecting with the student affairs staff and sustaining the relationships for four years.

 "Having people available to me, talking to me and being there for me meant a lot," said Jones, who has aspirations of being a dean of students and president of a university some day. "My family sent me to Baker to succeed and make friends. That was part of my experience of growing up. I wanted to make my family proud."

 Jones plans to enroll in the higher education student affairs master's degree program at Fort Hays State. She has been accepted for a position as a graduate assistant for Memorial Union at Fort Hays State.

 Before heading to western Kansas, Jones will reflect fondly on her four years at Baker.

 "My time at Baker has been amazing," she said. "Through all the experiences you are going to have challenges. The people you meet and the friendships make it worthwhile. I loved my time here."

Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.



May 8, 2014
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Adopted son motivates Baker University doctoral student

Overland Park, Kan. — Part of Baker University's first Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership cohort in 2006 when she was a full-time teacher, Jaime Sadich finished her coursework on schedule before life's challenges two years later delayed the completion of her dissertation.Jamie-Sadich

For four months, she occasionally traveled from Kansas City to St. Louis, helping care for her sister who was hospitalized. She endured another emotional rollercoaster while becoming a foster parent as a single mother before eventually adopting the child.

Despite the challenges and balancing all of her responsibilities, Sadich persevered the next six years. On Saturday, she will be beaming as she walks across the stage at the Collins Center to receive her diploma when Dr. Jaime Michelle Sadich is announced. Her adopted son, Amin, will celebrate his fifth birthday that day.

"Jamie had to rely on her own motivation to complete the dissertation," said Harold Frye, associate professor and Sadich's doctoral adviser. "The spark never went out and she came back strongly after almost a four-year lapse in activity. Now she proudly shares her success as an example for others, especially her son."

Sadich, who graduated from Baker with a master's degree in school leadership in 2004, is finishing her 14th year in education. Her career includes teaching speech, debate and theater at Winnetonka High School in Kansas City, Mo., serving as an assistant principal at Raytown (Mo.) High School before becoming the principal of Raytown Central Middle School. After completing her master's, she participated in a focus group led by Frye to help with the development of Baker's doctoral program.

Amin has been a part of Sadich's life since shortly after he was born. He officially became Sadich's son a month before his second birthday.

"I wanted to show my son that even though challenges in life happen you can still accomplish your goals," Sadich said. "There was a time when I thought he might be removed from my home or reunited with his birth family. I was always focused on what was best for my son. He was my motivation. I have never started something and not finished. I didn't want this to be the first thing I didn't finish."

She resumed in the summer of 2013 the bulk of her dissertation that focused on closing the literacy gap. A major part of her research included examining two remedial programs for eighth-graders.

"It was a great experience," Sadich said of Baker's doctoral process. "I was looking for a program close to my home that met the needs of my work schedule. I received amazing support from Dr. Frye. I really owe a lot to him."

Having a father who taught inspired Sadich to pursue a career in education.

"I had really great teachers growing up and I had great examples in my family," she said. "I feel I was born to do this and I wanted a career in which I could make a difference and work with people."

From the time she started the doctoral journey eight years ago, Sadich always remained positive.

"My faith is one thing that kept me going," Sadich said. "I knew what God had called me to do. I knew I was meant to be in education, be a principal and a mom. For every aspect of my life, I pray, 'Is this what I'm supposed to be doing?' If not, God will close that door. Those doors continue to open at different times."

Baker University is committed to assuring student learning and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.


May 6, 2014
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Commencement ceremonies set for May 10, May 18

Baldwin City, Kan. — Baker University's spring commencement ceremonies will be Saturday, May 10, and Sunday, May 18, at the George F. Collins Sports and Convention Center on the Baldwin City campus. More than 300 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students are candidates for degrees.Gradpic

The School of Professional and Graduate Studies undergraduate students will be honored at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 10. The ceremony for graduate degree students from the School of Professional and Graduate Studies and the School of Education will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 10. The ceremony for undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education and School of Nursing will be at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 18.

Janet Hill Wozniak, a 1984 Baker graduate and member of Education Worldwide for Apple, will address the graduates at the May 10 ceremonies. Dr. Patricia N. Long, the 28th president in Baker's 156-year history, will be the keynote speaker at the May 18 ceremony.

Receptions will be held both days after the ceremonies on the lawn north of the Collins Center to honor the graduates and their families.

Here are the Baker candidates for degrees for the Class of 2014:

College of Arts and Sciences
Bachelor of Arts

Callene Anderson, history and secondary education; Jessica S. Benner, French and history; Jose G. Castro, history; Amanda Marie Ciambrone, studio art and psychology; Alexander A. Coffey, studio art; Katelin Marissa Colby, sociology and English; Nancy Delgado, biology and Spanish; Lauren Elizabeth Jaqua, English and secondary education; Todd Douglas Johnston, history and secondary education; Abigail Sue Jones, art history; Lisa M. Kent, psychology and Spanish; Teresa L. Morse, English; Xiomara Alejandra Nunez, Spanish and mass media; Michael Anthony Preut, history; Jenna Stanbrough, mass media; Ben Francis Steinlage, history; Ryan Thompson, philosophy and sociology; Kate Elizabeth Thurbon, economics and international studies; Margaret M. Thyr, sociology and history; Bryan Williams, English and secondary education; Lauren Elizabeth Williams, elementary education

Bachelor of Music Education

Wolfgang Franze Wilhelm Johanning, music education; Billy J. Wicks, music education.

Bachelor of Science

Seelai Ahmadi, accounting; Sara Bell, mass media; Molly A. Bostwick, accounting; Alex D. Bowles, accounting; Samantha K. Brandt, psychology; Ana Abigail Briones, exercise science; Alexander G. Burton, exercise science; Tara Kathleen Chumley, psychology; Emmerson F. Clarke Jr., sociology; Benjamin Joseph Coyle, sports administration; Alyssa N. Davis, biology; Shemaiah C. Davis, exercise science; Brett J. Delich, health/physical education and secondary education; Teresa Elaine Drovetta, biology; Kathryn Adell Duroe, exercise science; Megan Elaine Emas, elementary education; Shelby Inez Equels, sports administration; Michael P. Faison, exercise science; Alisha M. Fanshier, communication; Sheldon Jay Farrell, health/physical education and secondary education; Hayes Nathan Farwell, biology and secondary education; Chad Anthony Forrer, sociology; Matthew Shannon Fry, biology; Allen J. Gassman, exercise science; Jeremy Brandon Gathright, sports administration; Tyler Alan Glatczak, business; Jake Green, exercise science and education; Erin Greenwood, exercise science; James Ryan Gricol, business; Andrew R. Griffin, accounting and business; Sercan Gunbatar, sports administration; Stephen G. Harmon, psychology; Ariella Harrison, international studies; Tyler Hatcher, sports administration and exercise science; Thomas Scott Hawkins, physics; Alexander M. Henning, biology; Ashley Nichole Henry, biology; Chelsey Anne Henry, exercise science; Lindsay Nichole Hill, mathematics; Michael K. Hobbs, sports administration and business; Sherece Rese Huddlin, elementary education; Morgan Merrill James, business and sports administration; Denesha LeAnn Jones, sociology; Andrew Kelley, sociology; Rachel Elizabeth Knight, business; Madison Beth Kristoffersen, exercise science; Peter Ryan Lasneske, business and sports administration; Timothy J. Laughlin, sociology; Brett D. Lechien, sports administration; Darisa M. Lyons, exercise science; Tera R. Lyons, mass media; Garrett Randal McPherson, exercise science; Caitlyn N. Metseff, exercise science; Kelly Meyer, elementary education and sports administration; Julian Scott Mills, accounting and business; Stephanie Elizabeth Nelson, exercise science; Chad J. Orum, sociology; Ashton L. Ousley, exercise science; Parker L. Owen, sociology; Callie Cheyenne Paquette, biology; Constance Paramore, communication; Alyssa Emily Paul, elementary education; Adrian Paul Pearson, chemistry and secondary education; Jakob Dalton Price, sociology; Paige Nicole Queen, business; Dominick M. Reiske, accounting and business; Megan Elizabeth Rosa, chemistry and exercise science; Valentine Louise Schirmer, mathematics; Travis L. Shadrach, exercise science; Crystal Patricia Simon, exercise science; Christopher Earl Sipe, business; Alyssa Jo Staats, sociology; Christopher J. Tackett, physics; Stephanie Taylor, psychology; Michelle Ranee Thomas, exercise science; Krystina Ann Townsend, mathematics and secondary education; Jasmyn Turner, exercise science; Rebecca Lynn Uhrig, elementary education; Cody Lynn Viergever, sports administration; Dominique Alexis Vieyra, biology; Kortney Dawn Voss, psychology and studio art; Sierra Rose Wallace, biology; Ciarra Brittany-Aryona Washington, elementary education; Sean Michael Webb, biology; Ashley Marie Werner, biology; Cami Lynn Williams, sociology; Erin Elizabeth Wilson, computer science; Joshua Wolfe, business; Joshua W. Zach, sports administration; Cameron Zimmerman, exercise science.

School of Nursing
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Larry Michael Barnes, Annie Jo Bates, David Dean Beaver, Helen Elizabeth Benefiel, Kaylene Marie Bonjour, Cassandra Marie Borgman, Stephanie Marie Bruggeman, Emily Rose Buhler, Richelle Burgess, Erika Laree Crews, Shelby Nicole Dorris, Amanda Lee Edelman, Lorin Paige Feiden, Kaylyn Packard Ferrera, Rebecca Ann Frazee, Rebecca A. Giancana, Erica Kathleen Grandon, Audrie Gudenkauf, Elyse Ivy Hawthorne, Kate R. Hennessy, Sandra Denise Hohner, Maggie Marie Holmberg, Holly Anne Martinez, Kayla Nicole Morse, Angela Trang Nguyen, Courtney Lee Pfau, Kristen E. Potter, Kendra Rangel, Randi Jo Richards, Madelyn Marie Satterfield, Sarah Christian Sexton, Breann Michelle Sherbert, Ashley Nicole Srna, Thomas Edward Stipp, Beth Tice, Auston Marie Whitmer, Erin Lynn Whittington, Whitney Lachele Williams, Terri L. Woodbury, Charles R. Woolsoncroft, Sarah Zaharia.

School of Professional and Graduate Studies
Associate of Arts in Business

Brad Allan Baker, Jennifer Dawn Barbosa, Jeffrey Barton, Armando S. Bayardo, Cassandra Beckwith, William Christopher Black, Laura L. Bower, Samuel J. Brooks, Kelley S. Carter, Kent Alan Clemmerson, Leonard Z. Gaultney, Jeremy Graves, Gabriel T. Gutierrez, Melissa Beth Harrington, Jennifer Kay Heil, Vanessa M. Hickman, Robert M. Huff II, Johnathan Allen King Jr., LeeSondra V. King, La'Kisha Yvonne Marisette, Elise C. Martin, Helene Rose Martinez, Julie Ann Miller, Joshua W. Moore, Justin Christopher Moulder, Timothy R. Prine, John A. Purtle, Carol Lee Reed, Mary Shannon Seymour, Tatiana T. Soupiset, Angela White

Bachelor of Business Administration

Dennis Michael Abernathy, Rose M. Abrahams, Sonya Adams, Cornelius Adkins, Jennifer Christine Alexander, Desiree' Antoinette Allen, Ryan L. Angle, Lorenzo S. Atkinson Jr., Marquisha D. Barnes, Livvy Laine Benson, Mardi L. Bowlin, Michael T. Calhoun, Jason W. Carson, James A. Carter III, Ronda Rachelle Clemens, Jodi Lynn Cunningham, Randall Ray Davis, Mark A. Denham, Dagna Kayne D'Ercole, Johanna Maxine Dickman, Chad David Dikeman, David Charles Drovetta, Dawn M. Endrijaitis, Shauna R. Fearnow, Debbra S. Fluette, Sean A. Gaeta, Jacob A. Garretson, Emily N. Goddard, Matthew R. Gray, Melissa Griffin, Chandra Gross, Santhi Hamm, Lisa Ann Helm, Matthew Scott Hendren, Catherine M. Hendrix, Julianne M. Henning, Glenell Henson Jr., Jeffrey Samuel Hermesch, Bethany Lynn Hess, Cynthia Rose Hobbs, Daniel Glenn Hoffman, Amanda Holloway, Michelle Hook, Bradley Scott Hopkins, Robert F. Hurtig, Kelli A. Ianke, Richard D. Inglett III, Debra K. Joe, Heath C. Johnson, Margaret A. Johnson, Karlyn Marie Judd, Laura Michelle Kendrick, Andrea N. Kircher, Jennifer Lynn Konrad, Marjorie Carol Lavery, Paul Prentiss Law, Lisa M. LeGrande, Adam M. Lespreance, Michael Lewis, Tracie M. Linville, Ericka Elizabeth Loveland, Joseph John Mahon, Andrew V. Martin Jr., Jon Ramon McGillivray, Angela Denise McKinnis, Zachary L. Meadows, Jerry Mitchell, Timothy M. Moses, Teal M. Munroe, Bailey Marie Murphy, Eric J. Norris, Jessica Lynn Osborn, Cynthia Osburn, Melanie Ann Pearson, Nancy Lee Pearson, Michael A. Pence, Derek James Peterson, Debra L. Pfingsten, Margaret Clare Phillips, Kenneth L. Poole III, Britani Lyn Potter, Preston Spencer Punzo, Gary W. Rhoades, Kim D. Rhoades, Zachary Riddle, Matthew Charles Rochelle, Renee L. Rogers-Earwood, Matthew F. Roy, Shaun Thomas Ryan, Darlene J. Savard, Erinn William Shannon, Chasadee Joyce Lynn Shelby, Barbara A. Shields, Ruby C. Shook, P. Anne Sixkiller, David Kent Smith, Eric, Daniel Smith, Spencer Paul Smith, Ada Melissa Taylor, Rick L. Thompson, Shawn Robert Tiemann, Kevin J. Tilley, Clarissa Tourtillott, Michelle L. Warnow, Jeremy M. Warren, Tiana M. Wshington, Tiana M. Washington, Jennifer Ann Waterman, Jennifer Kathryn Watts, Jessica Lee Weidler, Brett Mathew Wellman, Rachel Fay Winsky, Matthew R. Wisner, Michelle L. Wisner.

Bachelor of Business Information Systems

Michael J. Shenck, Mark Allen Walker

Bachelor of Arts in Business Leadership

Shawn Curtis Evans, Troy Gene Floyd, Sanjuana Le, Shelly Rae Long, Richard Morton, Dan Markham Swartz.

Bachelor of Science in Management

Marsha L. Baker, Eric Brown, Michael W. Chalk Jr., Alexis Christine Colclasure, Jason Joseph Costigan, Micheal Cushman, Rachel E. Estes, Kelly Lynn Farr, LaKendra D. Harris, Buddy Albert Haynes, Randy J. Kimmel, Gayl Monique Lawson, Rakesh Monique Lyles, Melanie A. Madonia, Shahan Mahbub, Jodi Lynn Monroe, Arthur R. Moore, Abbie Leigh Perina, Sheri Ratliff, Sandra Dee Robinson, Lindsey Marie Ross, George A. Simeroth, Dwana L. Spurlock, La Tanya Marie Taylor, Teresa R. Taylor, Benjamin Earl Travis III, Jacquline M. Watts, Brandy Williams, Darryl Lynn Williams, Willa J. Woods, Lynn M. Ziegler.

Master of Business Administration

Sarah Jane Adams, Adam P. Almaguer, Fernando Enrique Andrade, Frank C. Ann, David G. Antalick Jr., Amy L. Backley, Brianne M. Bailey, Kyle J. Bakker, Sara E. Bauman, Cordell Benton, Melissa Blaco, Elizabeth Kelly Bowlin, Erin R. Burch, Ciyi Cai, Joseph Owen Caldwell, Loth Chhang, William Bryan Childers, Russell Joseph Comley, Jason D. Conrad, Tegan Cummings, Jonilyn K. Davidson, Jacob E. Dee, Linda L. Dodson, Michele Eastman, Chidi Ezuma-Ngwu, Amanda Blu Ferrel, Ryan Fickel, Denise Rene Fiene, Jessica Lee Franklin, Patricia Marie Freemyer, Michael Grassinger, Amanda C. Hays, Brenton Marcus Holper, Patrick Brian Humphrey, Emily C. Jablon, Dustan A. Johnson, Morren E. Jones, Omnisha L. Kalantar, Lynn Denise Karnes, Erica Lynn Knox, Lucas M. Landau, Melissa Renee Leedom, Karen Louise Lewis, Laurent Cree Lewis, Andrew E. Madasz, Mark Mangan, Jeffrey Dean Marlow, Lorraine V. Maturure, Michael L. McGeehan, Sakeeb Mehdi, Safiyyah R. Mills, Sarah E. Neff, Timika Danielle Oridota, Andrew Patch, Eva Diane Reed, Jason Daniel Reeves, Troy Reynolds, Hannah Rule, Tobin Cyr Skenandore, Patricia Ann Smith, Danyell R. Spring, Sarah Elizabeth Stotts, James Matthew Stromer, Terry Taylor, Travis L. Thomas, Jose A. Valenzuela, Kristin Watkins, Lindsey Weldon, Andrew John Welzenbach, Melanie Diane Wilson, Mark Thomas Winters, Nicole Alyn Yardley, Danielle A. Yonker, Fred G. Yonker VIII.

Master of Science in Management

Lauren Elaine Bell, Hannah M. Costigan, Tonya Renee Guinn, Stephanie A. Jasnoski, Alayna Nicole Johnson, Timothy E. Mason, Travis Ray Neely, Steven John Rottinghaus, Heather Marie Shelton, Andrew Jordan Tippin, Hector Arnulfo Vasquez.

Master of Conflict Management and Dispute Resolution

Marie Holloway

Master of Liberal Arts

Miles J. Azzeh, Daniel Cameron Balaszek, Tina Nicole Beal, Channell Ashley Butts, Elizabeth Hayes Cotter, Rita Nadirah Graham, Martha J. Harris, Claire Maes Lindh, Amy Asiu McGonigle, Shannon Ochoa, Patricia Ayres Ryder, Kari Diane Schwanke, Melinda Jolene Sexton, Angela Shepherd, Christine Michelle Strelluf, Melissa A. Urban, Angela Lavora Walker, Brandon Thomas Wolak.

School of Education
Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership

Joshua M. Anderson, Kimberly S. Kray, Christopher Michael Miller, Vickie S. Murillo, Jennifer Rinella, Jaime Michelle Sadich.

Master of Arts in Education

Cori Elizabeth Anderson, Anita J. Aubert, Andrea Marie Barnard, Jean Barnard, Philip Charles Bayha, Kelsey Brown, Kimberley R. Bruening, Elena R. Buckner, Audrey Dawn Burks, Angeline May Cakin, Heather Cleary, Danielle Renee Copeland, Abigail Crady, Mallory Merritt Davis, Jenny Deneault, Isis Neith Dieguez, Linda F. Fleer, Brian Lee Freeborn, Mallory Ann Friday, Ashley Gatlin, Joseph Robert Geist, Rick Wayne Grose, Stephanie Ann Guenther, Linda K. Hardy, Jeffrey Scott Hart, Jessica Heit, Vincent Heit, Megan N. Henley, Drew A. Holcomb, Stephanie Lynn Holdmeyer, Megan Hossain, Dylan M. Irons, Michelle Renea Johnson, Shannon Kern, Whitney Lee Kimmel, Cortney A. Kinyon, Nicole Knight, Amanda Layman, Kristina Lupercio, Jessica Luse, Kristin Janelle Martin, Erin Margaret Mehl, Jennifer Christine Miller, Jaime Brianne Moses, Elizabeth Mueller, Mindy Mulheron, Kaitlen Ortman, Callie Peebles, Carolyn Marie Potter, Laura Ann Schaiff, Seth Charles Schooley, Caitlin Elizabeth Shea, Kristine Marie Silver, Trisha Renee Slimmer, Justin Clark Smith, Crystal Renne Stauffer, Kim R. Stroud, Kim R. Swanson, Kenneth C. Taylor, Amanda A. Tovar, Angel M. Tovar, Nicole Wallace, David C. Weaver, Melissa Kay Williamson, Susan C. Wilson, Elizabeth Ann Wooldridge, Kyle Allen Wright.

Master of Science in School Leadership

Amanda Nichole Adams, Lori Renee Allen, Kimberly D. Barb, Timothy Lee Beikman, Dawn M. Blue, Emily Marie Burgoon, Bradley Dean Burkdoll, Heather Jenae Burrris, Douglas P. Catloth, Nicole M. Cirese, Jamie L. Cole, Ryan Matthew Colston, Jarrod Lee Craig, Delilah Crossette, Whitney Marquis Czajkowski, Rose Marie Daffron, Amy Leigh Dokken, Courtney Leslie Domoney, Angela Marie Dove, Matthew Loren Dunning, Robert R. Ebenstein Jr., Sharon Fries, Kimberly Michelle Jarboe Fund, Hayden M. Galler, Kimberly E. Gammill, Joshua Shane Godwin, David Alexander Goerzen, John R. Greshman, Mark D. Hall, Rebecca Sue Haney, Shari L. Hardinger, Rockne Dwayne Helm, Jodie Danielle Hetherington, Lynnae Huckabey, Abby Elaine Huggins, Holly Ann Ingram, Gwendolyn Jacobs, Susan A. Kane, Kale Dean Katt, Michelle Antoinette Krull, Tamara S. Kuntz, Laura Elizabeth LeFever, Michele M. Luksa, Chelsi Ann Mannebach, Misty G. Mayden-Miles, April Sue Mayorga, Brandon Paul Mellen, Zachary Jordan Orrick, Mallory D. Pendleton, Michele A. Perez, Carl Anthony Perico, Christopher Perry, Justin Roger Pickens, Teresa L. Plachecki, James Davis Polk, Angela Suzanne Portlock, Page Autumn Pound, Karen Presswood, Brianna Crystal Reyes, Tammy Lee Kaan Smallwood, Kelly Jack Steele, Teresa Ann Swan, Stephanie Michelle Uffendell, Erin Renee Unruh, Kristin J. Venable, Juli Latisha Watson, Jennifer Jane Welborn, Brittani Kay Willnauer, Amanda D. Yager.

Master of Science in Teaching

Nicole Coulson, Nury C. Gorman, Julie Anne Hamby.

Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.


May 6, 2014
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University director of public relations, (785) 594-8330 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Father, daughter earn degrees at same time

Baldwin City, Kan. — A father and daughter from Gardner, Kan., will share in the joy of earning a degree from Baker University in the next couple of weeks.

Dave Drovetta, director of quality management and compliance for Physicians Reference Laboratory, earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the School of Professional and Graduate Studies. His ceremony is set for 1 p.m., Saturday, May 10, at the Collins Sports and Convention Center on the Baldwin City campus. Teresa Drovetta, Dave's youngest of four children, will receive a Bachelor of Science degree from the College of Arts and Sciences at 1 p.m., Sunday, May 18, at the same location.Dave-and-Teresa-Drovettaforweb

Dave took an unconventional path to earn his bachelor's degree. Originally from the southern Illinois area before moving to Gardner in 1987, he took classes in the late 1970s at the University of St. Francis and Southwestern Illinois College while working at National Steel Corporation, where his job responsibilities as a water quality technician increased.

"I had planned to earn a degree while working, and then life happened," said Dave, who has been married 31 years to Margaret Drovetta, an academic records assistant in Baker's registrar's office.

After National Steel, Dave was a quality manager at Nellcor Puritan Bennett, director of manufacturing at Goodrich Aerospace and quality manager at Embarq Logistics before he secured his current position in 2006.

Because of his vast career background, Dave was able to share his experiences during classroom discussions on Thursday nights with his classmates at the Overland Park campus. He enrolled in an associate degree program in 2011 before transitioning to the Bachelor of Business Administration program with a concentration in healthcare administration.

"My career allowed me to take the theory presented in the classroom and understand it better based on my experiences," said Drovetta, 55. "It is a great program. I really enjoyed the classroom interaction, and that was important to my experience."

Dave also served four years (2009-2013) as mayor of Gardner after 14 years as a member of the Gardner City Council.

"My career helped me in governance, and the governance role helped me in my work as well," Dave said.

For the past couple of years, Teresa was impressed by her father's ability to manage work, his studies and mayoral duties.

"I am amazed he was able to earn a degree with so much going on in his life," Teresa said. "I was proud of him going back to school. Balancing all of his responsibilities gave me a lot of perspective."

Teresa, a 2010 Gardner-Edgerton High School graduate, transferred from
Kansas State to Baker in 2012 and majored in biology.

"I didn't do very well in a large classroom setting," said Teresa, who was an honors student at Baker and played the bassoon for the symphonic band. "I like the personal relationship with professors and I like to be challenged."

In the fall of 2013, the father and daughter realized they were on pace to graduate at the same time. The two plan to have a combined celebration on May 18 in Gardner, where they will be joined by Margaret and the other children in the family, Megan, Laura and Adam.

After graduating, Teresa plans to enroll in Baker's School of Nursing at Stormont-Vail HealthCare in Topeka, Kan.

"I knew I wanted to do something in the medical field," she said. "I like the idea of nursing because there are a lot of opportunities to pursue a master's degree."

There is a chance the two could share in another commencement ceremony after Teresa completes the nursing program. Dave is considering enrolling in Baker's new Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership program, which provides future organizational leaders the opportunity to develop versatile leadership skills in social justice, global citizenship and entrepreneurial spirit.

"More companies are looking at the softer side of management as the millennials want more work-life balance," Dave said. "It is conceivable we could graduate again at the same time in two years."

Baker University is committed to assuring student learning, and developing confident, competent and responsible contributors to society.

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