SMSU Commencement Speakers

Each year, SMSU is proud to have an alum give the commencement address regarding their experience at SMSU and life after college.  Below is a list of former commencement speakers.

2017 - Dene Thomas '78, President of Fort Lewis College; Durango, CO
2016 - Michael Walker '98, Director of Black Male Student Achievement for Minneapolis schools; Minneapolis, MN 
2015 - David Werpy '79, Vice President and General Auditor for 3M Corporate Auditing; Minneapolis, MN
2014 - Christy Brusven '02, Attorney for Fredrikson & Byon; Minneapolis, MN
2013 - Rassoul Dastmozd '83, President of Saint Paul College; Saint Paul, MN
2012 - Thomas Jackson '85, Vice President for Student Affairs - University of Louisville; Louisville, KY
2011 - Krishna Shah '97, General Manager for Formation Carpets; Kaphmandu, Nepal

2010 - Carl Harris '76, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy & Strategic initiatives, US Dept. of Education

2009 - Richard L. Jones '73, Middle School Principal at Rochester Public Schools; Rochester, MN
2008 - Michael Springman '73, Vice President & Chief Information officer, Northrop Gumman Mission Systems; Reston, VA
2007 - Jon Welfald, President-Kansas State University; Manhattan, KS 
2006 - LaKeesha Ransom '95, Senior Project Manager, Best Buy Products
2005 - John Schatzlien '71, Consultant Minnesota Department of Health
2004 - Russ Stanton '74, Director of Governmental Relations for Inter Faculty Organization; Edina, MN
2003 - Julie Bleyhl '84, Educator and Legislative Director; Madison, MN
2002 - Barton Sutter '72, Renowned author and writer; Duluth, MN

2001 - Beth Kirkpatrick '73, Educator & Motivational Speaker; Grundy Center, IA

2001 (Winter) - Catharine L. Cowan, Professor of Psychology; Marshall, MN
2000 - Isiah Whitlock, Jr. '76, Professional Actor; New York City, NY
2000 (Winter) - Ruth Thompson, Assistant Professor of English; Marshall, MN
1999 - Wendy J. Wild '88, Coordinator Day Treatment Program, Minneapolic Public Schools & Consultant for Player Development Program, Minnesota Vikings Football Club; Burnsville, MN
1999 (Winter) - Michael Kopp, Professor of History; Marshall, MN
1998 - Dorene E. Kronke '73, Vice President for Strategic Alliances; Montvale, NJ
1998 (Winter) - Joland Mohr, Professor of Education; Marshall, MN
1997 - Christopher J. Theobald '86, Asst. Basketball Coach, James Madison University; Harrisonburg, VA
1997 (Winter) - Hugh Curtler, Professor of Philosophy; Marshall, MN
1996 - Steven E. Titus '87, Director of Judicial Affairs and Upper Class Area Coordinator, University of Virginia; Charlottesville, VA
1996 (Winter) - Edward Carberry, Professor of Chemistry; Marshall, MN
1995 - B. Duane Dombek '71, Senior Research Scientist, Union Carbide Corporation; South Charleston, WV
1994 - Clarence Hightower '77, President, The City Inc.; Minneapolis, MN
1993 - Doug Tersteeg, Director, Zytec Corporation; Redwood Falls, MN
1992 - Joseph P. Rossillon, Executive Assistant to the President, Sheldon Jackson College; Sitka, AK
1991 - Robert L. Carothers, Chancellor, Minnesota State University System; St. Paul, MN
1990 - Terrence Fogarty '82, Artist, Owner of The Gallery of Sportsart; St. Paul, MN
1989 - Michael O'Keefe, Executive Vice President, The McKnight Foundation; Minneapolis, MN
1988 - Jerry Owens, President, Lakewood Community College; White Bear Lake, MN
1987 - John McCune, Acting President 1986-87, Southwest State University, Marshall, MN
1986
1985 - Annette Atkins '72, Assistant Professor of History, St. Johns University; Collegeville, MN
1984 - Robert L. Carothers, President, Southwest State University; Marshall, MN
1983 - Robert L. Carothers, President, Southwest State University; Marshall, MN
1982 - Margaret Preska, President, Mankato State University; Mankato, MN
1981 - Warren Spannaus, Attorney General, State of Minnesota
1980 - Wendell Anderson, Governor, State of Minnesota 1971-1977, United States Senator, 1977-79
1979
1978 - Rosalie E. Wahl, Minnesota Supreme Court Justice
1977
1976 - John Schatzlein '71, Alumnus
1975 - Mary T. Phillips, Minnesota State College Board
1974 - Wendell R. Anderson, Governor for the Sate of Minnesota
1973 - Carol Heen '71, Alumna
1972 - Howard A. Bellows, President, Southwest Minnesota College
1971 - Howard A. Bellows, President, Southwest Minnesota College