The Missouri School of Journalism to Recognize 538 Graduates at Commencement on May 15

Columbia, Mo. (May 6, 2010) — The Missouri School of Journalism will recognize its 538 May and August graduates during commencement ceremonies at 8 p.m., Saturday, May 15, at Mizzou Arena. Family and friends of the graduates do not need tickets to attend. Seating will be open.

Graduate degrees will be awarded to 93 students, including eight doctoral candidates and 85 master’s recipients. Missouri, the world’s first school of journalism, was the first to award graduate and undergraduate degrees in journalism.

Bill Geist, MA '71
Bill Geist, MA ’71, Alumnus Speaker

Of the 445 undergraduate candidates, 46 studied convergence journalism; 115, magazine journalism; 11, photojournalism; 42, print and digital news; 62, radio-television journalism; and 169, strategic communication. Of the graduating seniors, roughly half are receiving minors.

Twenty of the graduates are Walter Williams Scholars, the highest-achieving freshman journalism students at Missouri. To be considered for the program, applicants must earn an ACT score of at least a 33 (1440 on the SAT).

Overall, 165 graduating seniors, or approximately 37 percent of the class, will be recognized with Latin honors. These students have at least a 3.5 grade point average for their last 60 graded credit hours.

The top 10 percent of the School’s graduates will be inducted into Kappa Tau Alpha, a journalism honor society founded at the Missouri School of Journalism in 1910 with the goal of uniting students of exceptional achievement from the nation’s leading schools of journalism and mass communication. The ceremony will be from 3:30-5 p.m., Saturday, May 15, in 100-A Reynolds Journalism Institute. This year’s inductees are:

Max Hyman
Max Hyman, Master of Ceremonies
Taylor A. Rausch
Taylor A. Rausch, Student Speaker

MA Candidates

  • Laura A. Evans
  • Christopher Hamby
  • Paula Hunt
  • Yang Liu
  • Melinda Lonkausky
  • Kirstin McCudden
  • Lindsay Ray
  • Brian Schraum
  • Richard Shaw
  • Bryan Utter
  • Yvette Walker
  • Tram Whitehurst

BJ Candidates

  • Kelsey D. Allen
  • Katherine Marie Bear
  • Amy Elizabeth Brachmann
  • Allison Buechert
  • Kate Caughlan
  • Ashley Anne Crimaldi
  • Ashley Dillon
  • Megan Earley
  • Laura A. Evans
  • Jennifer L. Fernandes
  • Christine Marie Fillmore
  • Lindsey Marie Foat
  • Courtney Giles
  • Jennifer Jan Gordon
  • Elizabeth Hansen
  • Paige Elyse Hansen
  • Mark Kelly
  • Brett Knight
  • Maggie Lannon
  • Whitney Lewis
  • Megan Lynn Lipson
  • Lukas Kent Litzsinger
  • Robert L. Mays III
  • Rachel Metzler
  • Bradley Marcus Minkow
  • Dolores Marcela Obregon
  • Laura Donnelly Parkinson
  • Taylor Ann Rausch
  • Lindsay Ray
  • Brian A Schraum
  • Richard F. Shaw
  • Jessica L. Showers
  • Yutika Sthavornmanee
  • Bryan David Utter
  • Amber Dawn Wade
  • Steve Weinman
  • Tram Whitehurst

The alumnus speaker will be Bill Geist, MA ’71, an Emmy Award-winning correspondent for CBS News and a New York Times best-selling author. He has been a correspondent and commentator for CBS News “Sunday Morning” since he joined the network in 1987, traveling the country to chronicle the people, places, and events that make up the fabric of American life. Geist has contributed his humor, observations, and storytelling to many CBS News broadcasts, including “60 Minutes II,” “The Evening News,” and “48 Hours,” as well as various CBS Sports productions, including several Olympic Games, World Series and Super Bowls.

Geist is the best selling author of seven books and has contributed innumerable articles to a wide spectrum of magazines, ranging from New York to Chicago, Rolling Stone to Forbes, and Vogue to Esquire — as well as to Internet sites such as The Daily Beast.

Prior to joining CBS News, Geist was a reporter and columnist for The New York Times (1980-87), where he wrote the “About New York” column and before that, at The Chicago Tribune (1972-80). Geist served as a combat photographer with the First Infantry Division in Vietnam (1969).

The Master of Ceremonies will be Max Hyman, who will graduate with a major in radio-television journalism and minors in classics and political science. A native of New York, Hyman has worked as a State Capitol correspondent for KMOX-AM and as a reporter KOMU-TV. During the summer of 2008, he worked as a blogger for 1010 WINS, a New York all-news radio station, at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. The Mizzou Alumni Association selected Hyman as a member of “Mizzou 39,” one of the university’s top seniors. He has also served as a tour guide for the MU Office of Visitor Relations Tour Team, as a member of the Homecoming Steering Committee and as president of the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity.

The student speaker, Taylor A. Rausch, from Zionsville, Ind., is a dual major in magazine journalism and history. She served as the president of the MU chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and as the student representative on the national SPJ board, where she headed up a project partnering with university presidents and student journalists to curb censorship on college campuses. Rausch was a charter executive officer of the Journalism Scholars Association. She also has served as a vice president of Kappa Alpha Theta and co-director of Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol. She has been inducted into the Mystical 7 honorary society, Griffiths Leadership Society for Women, Mizzou ’39 and named a national finalist for the Truman Scholarship competition. In the fall, Rausch will attend the University of Chicago Law School to pursue media and law studies.

Further information about the commencement ceremonies is available from the MU Commencement website.

Student Speaker

Taylor A. Rausch, BJ ’10
May 15, 2010

Good evening. When Steve Jobs addressed Stanford University graduates in 2005 he talked about connecting the dots in our lives. We make our first dot in Indianapolis, St. Louis, maybe Dallas or wherever else you may be from. A big Mizzou pawprint in our years of college here. A mistaken dot over on 9th street. A dot marking career change or newfound passions just past the quad in Lee Hills.

And all of these dots, all of these stops and choices and adventures, we make along our journey, seem to be a confusing maze of life taking us this way and life taking us that way. We can only connect these significant moments in our lives as we look backward.

My first dots were ventures in speed skating and rabbit breeding. The next dot on my journey sent me yearning for a gig at the Metropolitan Opera and show choir competitions every Saturday. Then somehow I wound up at Mizzou; still to this day I believe my mother brainwashed me. (And I will never be able to thank her enough.) As a reporter, like many of you, I’ve made dots all over this city and have been inspired by sources fighting for a perfected falafel recipe, fighting for higher education, even fighting for their lives. These dots and all the dots in between – Washington, New York, a bizarre two-day stint when I wanted to be an actuary – have led me here to this podium today.

Perhaps your personal dots aren’t connecting just yet. As you look back, things still seem as though they are a scattered mess of pipe dreams. Fantastic. The mere words commencement and graduation signify a beginning, a start and certainly not an end. There are many more dots to come.

We will turn our tassels at the worst of times, some will say. Sure the unemployment rate is holding steady at 9.7 percent. Sure Conde Nast may have shuttered one of the very best food magazines on newsstands – rest in peace, Gourmet – with many publications likely to follow suit. And certainly, the majority of us are facing a year ahead that we may never have anticipated when we made our first step through those six columns.

We’ve got to trust in the dots. Trust that they will lead us to a news world or an ad world or a legal world that we would not have previously envisioned. The great innovations in our industry did not just happen from a group of folks doing the same-old-same-old.

The innovations in technology have positioned us to be the college graduates we are today. We are ever-connected, making sense of our news via personalized Twitter handles and blogs. Personal websites, online portfolios. An unhealthy obsession with checking our smart phones.

Rather than mourn what’s lost, we have learned to adapt to what is yet to come. We are the college graduates at the helm of massive, exhilarating change.

So where will your dots lead you? Certainly, as we walk across this stage and hold in our hands a University of Missouri diploma, we also hold in our hands the finest beginning – the most empowering commencement – in this country. As graduates of the Missouri School of Journalism, the innovation is ours for the taking.

In this audience sits the newspaper re-invented.

In this audience sits a profit model for online advertising.

In this audience sits a future Fellow of the Reynolds Journalism Institute, who may just give Steve Jobs a run for his iPad.

In this audience sits the next genius campaign that shall dwarf those Budweiser bullfrogs; the next computer-assisted-reporting package that sends everyone else saying, “Why didn’t I think of that?”; the next Watergate that will re-invent political accountability.

In this audience sits a Pulitzer. A Missouri Honor Medal recipient. An Emmy.

In this audience sits progress. Discovery. Triumph.

Just connect the dots. Congratulations, graduates.

Updated: May 11, 2020

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