Independence students

claim degrees from

Oklahoma Baptist U.

Three Independence residents earned degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University following the spring 2017 semester.

The students received degrees during Oklahoma Baptist University’s 103rd Spring Commencement May 19 in Raley Chapel’s Potter Auditorium on the OBU campus in Shawnee, Okla. The University conferred degrees upon 330 undergraduate students during the ceremony, including these local students:

• Alexandra Lanphear, Independence, nursing, magna cum laude.

• Charles Lanphear, Independence, international business, summa cum laude

• Bradley Thatcher, Independence, CCCM with a student ministry emphasis


Area students

named to dean’s list

at William Jewell

Several local students received recognition from William Jewell College for the 2016-17 academic year recently at the annual Celebration of Honors ceremony on the college’s Liberty campus.

The following local students were recognized for their achievements:

• Michele Rowan, Blue Springs, senior nursing and Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry major, was named to the Phi Epsilon Honor Society for finishing in the top 10 percent of the graduating class.

• Maria Topi, Blue Springs, senior history major, received the U.R. Pugh Memorial Scholarship for achievement as a history major.

• Aubrey Kent, Independence, junior biology major, received the Monte Harmon Award for an outstanding junior biology major.

• Gabrial Goering, Independence, junior elementary education major, received the Ida Coffman Award for an outstanding junior in elementary education.

• Kaylee Miller, Independence, senior studio art and secondary education major, received the Ida and Mabelle Glenn Music Scholarship for outstanding achievement for someone preparing to teach art.

• Katherine Watts, Independence, junior accounting major, received one of the two Austin Cooper Edwards Acting Awards.


Independence student

earns academic honor

at Oklahoma City U.

Briana James of Independence was named to President's Honor Roll for the spring 2017 semester at Oklahoma City University.

Students must complete a minimum of 12 credit hours during a semester and maintain a GPA of 3.9 or higher to meet the President's Honor Roll requirements.


Lee’s Summit

student named to

SAU dean’s list

Kathryn Cooper earned a 3.5 or higher GPA for the spring 2017 semester, securing a position on the dean’s list for Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Ark.

Cooper is a sophomore chemistry pre-health major from Lee’s Summit.


Blue Springs student

earns degree from

Clemson University

Jennifer P. McClanahan of Blue Springs graduated from Clemson University with a Master of Science in Biological Sciences.

McClanahan was among more than 3,400 students who received degrees in the four May 11 and 12 commencement ceremonies at Littlejohn Coliseum.


Blue Springs student

graduates with honors

from Culver-Stockton

A local student, a member of the Culver-Stockton College graduating class of 2017, earned the distinction of graduating with summa cum laude honors.

Christopher Swingle from Blue Springs graduated with a bachelor degree in business administration.

Academic distinctions are awarded based on cumulative grade point average, with a minimum of 60 credit hours earned at Culver-Stockton. Summa cum laude requires a minimum GPA of 3.85.

Emma Colon of Independence also graduated with a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice.

Swingle also was named to Culver-Stockton's President's List for academic achievement during the spring 2017 semester.

To be named to the President's List, Culver-Stockton College requires students to have earned a 4.0 GPA and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours.


Independence student

honored by Buena

Vista University

Amanda Miley, a chemistry and biology major from Independence, was honored at Buena Vista University's annual Student Recognition Dinner on April 29 in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Miley was a recipient of the Neil Ball Service Award for her strong commitment to serving others. Established in 1999 by BVU alumni Bill and Ronda Marshall and the Class of 1999 in honor of Neil Ball, BVU's beloved nightwatch employee, this award is presented to BVU students who demonstrate a commitment to helping fellow classmates and/or have volunteered in the Storm Lake community.


Two Independence

students earn master’s

degrees from ESU

A pair of students from Independence were among the more than 1,000 candidates for spring and summer graduation at Emporia State University.

Students planning to finish their degrees in May or August were eligible to walk during either undergraduate or graduate commencement exercises on Saturday, May 13.

Local students who graduated were:

• Katie Marie Don Carlos, Independence, graduated with a Master of Science degree in Special Education with a concentration in Adaptive Special Education.

• Angela K. Goff, Independence, graduated with a Master of Library Science degree with a concentration in Archives Studies.


Blue Springs student

earns degree from

Benedictine College

Christopher Thibault of Blue Springs was part of the largest graduating class in the 159-year history of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan. Thibault earned a bachelor of arts in accounting and music.

In addition to a diploma, each of the 440 graduates received a Fatima medal blessed by Pope Francis. The medals recognized the 100th anniversary of the first appearance by the Virgin Mary to the shepherd children at Fatima, Portugal, on May 13, 1917.

The keynote address came from Clare Vanderpool, an award-winning children's author whose books have won the Newbery Medal and Printz Honor.

"I am confident that you all have wonderful roads, wonderful stories ahead of you," Vanderpool said in her speech. "You will go on to do great things, I have no doubt. But truly great things always start with little things. Little gestures, encounters, graces. And it's all the little things that make up life."


Blue Springs student

honored for academics

at Tennessee-Martin

Alexius S. Thomas of Blue Springs earned a spot on the Spring 2017 Chancellor’s Honor Rolls at the University of Tennessee-Martin

Thomas earned high honors. To be eligible for Chancellor’s Honor Roll recognition, a student must take at least 12 hours of credit (pass-fail courses are not included) and achieve a 3.2 (B) grade point average based on a 4.0 scale. Students can make the Chancellor’s Honor Roll with honors (3.2 through 3.49), high honors (3.5 through 3.79) or highest honors (3.8 through 4.0).


Independence students

inducted into Phi

Kappi Phi honor society

A pair of Independence residents recently were initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society.

Melinda Neeley of Independence and Rachel Lundy of Independence were initiated at Emporia State University

These residents are among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation only and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors are eligible for membership. Graduate students in the top 10 percent of the number of candidates for graduate degrees may also qualify, as do faculty, professional staff and alumni who have achieved scholarly distinction.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 under the leadership of Marcus L. Urann who had a desire to create a different kind of honor society: one that recognized excellence in all academic disciplines. Today, the Society has chapters on more than 300 campuses in the United States and the Philippines. Its mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others."


Blue Springs student

earns honor roll honors

at Culver-Stockton

Derek Mason, a sports communication major from Blue Springs, was named to the Culver-Stockton College Honor Roll for academic achievement during the spring 2017 semester.

To be named to an honors list, Culver-Stockton College requires students to meet high academic standards. Honor Roll students have earned between a 3.2 and 3.49 and were enrolled in a minimum of 12 hours, with no grade lower than a C.


Local students

claim dean’s list

honors at MSSU

Several local students earned dean’s list honors for academic achievement for the spring 2017 semester at Missouri Southern State University in Joplin.

To earn honors, full-time students from Missouri Southern earned a grade point average of 3.75 or above on a 4.0 scale. The students qualified for the honor by earning the required GPA while enrolled in 12 or more hours of credit courses.

Local students honored include:

• Elizabeth P. Lybarger, Blue Springs

• Silas A. Myrick, Blue Springs

• Mariana M. Bichara, Independence

• Sarah G. Whittington, Sibley


– Compiled by Karl Zinke