By CSC College Relations
Chadron State College’s Winter Commencement for graduate and undergraduate students is Friday, Dec. 14. The graduate ceremony is at 2 p.m. in Memorial Hall’s Auditorium with Dr. Robert Stack as the speaker. The undergraduate ceremony is at 4 p.m. in the Chicoine Center with Judge Russell Harford as the speaker. There are 79 candidates for master’s degrees and 159 candidates for bachelor’s degrees. Both events can be seen on CSC Live.
Dr. Robert Stack
Dr. Robert Stack has been involved in both academics and athletics since coming to Chadron State College 20 years ago. He has been chair of the college’s Mathematics Department a total of 14 years and served as the Eagles’ softball coach for 10 years before relinquishing those duties at the end of the 2017 season.
A native of Tabor, South Dakota, Stack attended the University of South Dakota, where he earned each of his degrees: A bachelor’s in 1990, a master’s in 1991 and a doctorate in 1998, just before he came to Chadron State as a mathematics professor.
While completing his doctorate, he also taught in USD’s Math Department and coached baseball four years after having been a standout player for the Coyotes as an undergraduate. He also was the university’s homecoming king as a senior.
After receiving Chadron State’s Teacher Excellence Award twice, Stack was the 2004 recipient of the George Rebensdorf Teaching Excellence Award presented annually to the individual selected as the outstanding professor in the Nebraska State College System.
He was nominated for the award by one of his colleagues, who called Stack “an excellent practitioner of the art and science of undergraduate instruction, the first priority of the system.” The nomination also said Stack was popular with students, blending strategies of instruction in courses and maintaining student involvement in his courses.
It was also noted that Stack’s technical skills helped Chadron State develop the first completely online undergraduate mathematics degree program in the nation.
Despite receiving the coveted award and also earning tenure as a professor in 2004, Stack stepped away from academics for two years to serve as the college’s Dean of Students. Already well-known on campus, he became even more visible as he participated in student services, attended numerous student organization meetings and initiated regular dinner with the dean luncheons.
While Stack enjoyed his involvement with students outside the classroom, in the fall of 2007, he returned to academics and was appointed chair of the Mathematics Department again in 2008. Already the college’s Faculty Athletics Representative, his role on campus expanded even more when he agreed to become the college’s softball coach in 2007.
For the next 10 years, he did double duty, teaching math and leading the department while also building the softball program, which required long hours recruiting and coaching.
As the Eagles’ coach, Stack led the team to average 22 wins a season and achieved a program-best 32 wins his final year. Three of his final four teams reached the conference playoffs and finished among the top four in the final standings. He was named the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2014.
During his tenure at Chadron State, Stack has presented research papers at state, regional and national math education conferences. He also has been president of the Nebraska Association of Mathematics and was on the association’s board of directors seven years. In addition, he has served in various capacities related to the evaluation and certification of math programs for both the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
Stack and his wife, Jill, have three sons – Riley, Caston, and Jayden – and three daughters – Kiya, Brooklyn, and Kennady.
Judge Russell Harford
Judge Russell Harford, a native of Lead, South Dakota, and a 30-plus year resident of Chadron, began his law career as a night police dispatcher in his hometown, before working in the administrative division of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, D.C. He earned his bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from the University of Maryland in 1975 and his wife, Colleen, earned her degree in sociology. The couple has been married since 1973.
Harford took a job with the Nebraska State Patrol in Lincoln and transferred to northwest Nebraska in 1978 as a drug investigator. He soon began taking classes at Chadron State College and earned a master’s degree in guidance and counseling. Following his graduation in 1983, Harford began studying for a law degree at the University of Nebraska law school. He completed that degree in 1987 and in 1989 joined a Chadron law firm. He practiced law for 20 years and in 2009 former Governor Dave Heineman appointed him to a County Judge position in Chadron.
“Since I was appointed, I’ve always encouraged students, both high school and college, to attend court when it is in session. After court is over, I try to answer their questions. While I can’t speak directly about the cases they observe, I can give them general information about the court system and how it works. I have always felt that providing some insight into the court system is part of what being a judge is about,” Harford said.
Currently in his 10th year as one of five County Judges in the panhandle, Harford primarily serves Dawes, Sheridan and Sioux Counties. Harford remains busy with numerous activities, including a juvenile welfare initiative, “Thru the Eyes of the Child” mentoring young lawyers and court staff, and assisting debtors and tenants who represent themselves in county court. Harford also encourages lawyers to practice in rural areas. His efforts were recognized in 2016 when he was honored with the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Distinguished Judge for Community Service Award.
Harford stays involved with Chadron State College. He participated in early conversations that eventually led to the establishment of the Rural Law Opportunity Program at CSC. Earlier this fall, Harford received the Chadron State College Distinguished Alumni Award. He is also the president of the Chadron State College Alumni Board.
For the past four years, Harford has been a key resource for senior Social Work students during the planning phase of their annual Social Work conference. He helps identify speakers in his professional network who are legal or criminal justice experts and provides other resources, information and feedback. He has also participated in panel discussions.
In 2017, Harford was influential in securing the Nebraska Court of Appeals hearing oral arguments on campus. It was the first event of its type at CSC and he was pleased to see the Court of Appeals convene at CSC after convening at high schools and colleges in other parts of the state. He said he anticipates the Court of Appeals will return to the CSC campus.
With the assistance of Legal Studies professors Dr. Lisette Leesch and Dr. Mike Bogner, Harford was able to secure a Legal Aid of Nebraska kiosk in the King Library. The kiosk provides assistance to anyone with landlord/tenant or creditor/debtor issues.
Harford also remains active in his community. He’s a long-time member and past president of the Chadron Rotary Club, and he is treasurer of the Chadron Public School Foundation.
Following is the list of candidates by degree. Undergraduate honor graduates are designated with asterisks.
***Summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA
**Magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA
*Cum laude, 3.6-3.74 GPA
Bachelor of Applied Science
Arnold: Kimberly Kain
Holdrege: Judith Graser
Sidney: Amanda Green
Rapid City: Robert Raker, Samantha Smith
Christopher Lopez, Tucson, Ariz.
Jessica Applegarth, Yuba City, Calif.
Nicole Bernd**, Denver, Colo.
Chelsea Capone, Rio Rancho, N.M.
Judy Bruhn, Dallas, Ore.
Wesley Kudera, Baggs, Wyo.
Bachelor of Arts
Alliance: Kolton Dubs, Josh Matulka, Malorie Schefcik, Josie Seidler*
Ansley: Maria Terrazas
Ashby: Shawn McKimmey
Brule: Carissa Cornelius
Chadron: Keenan Johnson**, Elizabeth O’Conner**, Kristavia Strotheide*, Trace Strotheide**, Tatum Westemeier
Cozad: Troi Arnold
Curtis: Riley Garey
David City: Staci Hoeft
Gering: Torri Brumbaugh*, DeAnn Kizzire
Giltner: Lucas Richards
Grand Island: Jessica Kleine
Hay Springs: Laurin Bronson
Hayes Center: Kira Dimas
Hemingford: Rebecca Wignall
Kearney: Lisa Willson
Kimball: Jahnn Casimiro, Alexander Rawlings
Lodgepole: Cody Haas
Lyman: Athena Tarin
Milligan: Cody Filipi
Minatare: Tyler Koke*
Morrill: Taylor Lackey
Mullen: Jessica Lovitt, Dalton Zimmerman*
Niobrara: Jenny Motacek**
Norfolk: Kyle Temple*
North Platte: Corinne Carlton, Vaughn Fahrenbruck, Dru Linderman, Kendra Torres
Ogallala: Dakota Clough*, Alaynah Hyberg, Brianna Wilson*
Omaha: David Aldridge
Oshkosh: Clinton Wright
Schuyler: Ethan Bergt
Scottsbluff: Alyssa Faden, Tylor Grumbles, Michelle LaTowsky**
Sidney: Kelly Bilbrey, Gabriel Dorcey
Valentine: Shaniya DeNaeyer, Tyler Sedivy
Whiting: Rose MacClure
Whitney: Kelli Haynes
Bakersfield: Cristian Hulsey
Campbell: Daniel Ruiz
Canyon Country: Adam Fuselier
Lancaster: Michael Marrujo
Los Angeles: Jennifer Alvarez
Oak Park: Daniel Opferman
San Jose: Lilibeth Peterson
Eaton: Keri Ruff
Louisville: Savannah Smith
Loveland: Dylan Culp
Belle Fourche: Jacob Voorhis**
Colome: Rachel Tate*
Custer: Jade Spring
Hot Springs: Justin Harkless, Eric Yager
Lead: Stephanie Owens
Lemmon: Katie Krebs
Martin: Brooke Petersen
Oelrichs: Sara Spencer
Rapid City: Meggie Bolyard
Wood: Jonnie-Lynn Massingale
Burns: Travis Romsa
Casper: Jacob Geil
Cheyenne: Roberto Flores
Gillette: Garret Brunson, Evan Smith
Guernsey: Jessica Rotz
Newcastle: Merritt Crabtree
Rawlins: Dean Michel***
Sheridan: Alannah Anderson
Torrington: Tyler Croswell
Other States and Countries
Stephen Watson, Mobile, Ala.
Zander Casillas*, Phoenix, Ariz.
Kevin Coy*, Davenport, Fla.
Jason Fraser, Tampa, Fla.
Krystal Kesselring**, Loganville, Ga.
William Feid, Palatine, Ill.
Tyler Eagle Chasing, Sioux City, Iowa
Jessica Ney, Great Bend, Kan.
Myles Busby, Niles, Mich.
Karla Tworek, Warren, Mich.
Stacey McNamara***, Brooklyn Park, Minn.
Vy-Dana Flynn***, Billings, Mont.
Peace Ndalama***, Cary, N.C.
Sierra Martinez, Aztec, N.M.
Keith DeVault**, Freeport, Ohio
Erin Richardson, Jackson, Tenn.
Sherry Camacho***, Frisco, Texas
Eli Garza, Mission, Texas
Ji Feng, KunShan, China
Bachelor of Science
Amherst: Devin Dibbern*
Bellevue: Joel Milos**
Crawford: Benjamin Absalon
Elkhorn: Emily Heimann
Lewellen: Alisha Heelan
Norfolk: Samuel Vanderheiden
Shelton: Kortni Burnett
Other States and Countries
Shyanna Neu, Firestone, Colo.
Libby Olson, Scobey, Mont.
Jason Leake, Brewster, N.Y.
Robert Packer, Lander, Wyo.
Emanuel Koseos, Langley, Canada
Bachelor of Science in Education
Alliance: Elizabeth Olvera
Arapahoe: Kyla Monie***
Auburn: Chelsea Powell*
Bayard: Kimi Kramer
Cambridge: Troy Gregory**
Chadron: Gatlin Mack
Gering: Mikayla Kreider, Holly Marker*, Joshua McBride
Lincoln: Joan Kamerzell, Kathy Little
Mitchell: Austyn Wright
Morrill: Kasandra Gomez**
Seward: Ashlyn Hanson***
Valentine: Savannah Jackson**
West Point: Jordan Hagedorn*
Belle Fourche: Paige Bush**
Colome: Rylee Blomenkamp
Hermosa: Chasen Cole, Mikahla Ferguson
Kadoka: Taylor Merchen**, Chandlier Sudbeck
Casper: Alexandria Crisp
Cheyenne: Kymberlie Marrill*
Granite Canyon: Bailey Lanier**
Newcastle: Patricia Miller
Sheridan: Shania Channel***, Kylene Coonis**, Lindsey Sharp***
Sundance: Chrystal Cooper
Josef Gertner**, Fort Morgan, Colo.
Rebecca Kraxberger**, Hugo, Colo.
Dakota Rice, Kellogg, Idaho
Master of Arts in Education
Alliance: Christina Dillard, Erin Meyer
Gibbon: Brad Catlin
Gothenburg: Tony Neels
Lincoln: Matthew VanEngen
McCook: Jordan Lewis
North Platte: Maria Hall
Scottsbluff: Hattie Burford
Buffalo: Kassie Clements
Casper: Nicholas Stoneking
Gillette: Amber Frei, Michelle Miller
Hawk Springs: Gay Starr
Pine Bluffs: Justin Trout
Saratoga: Stephanie Long, Zachary Schmidt
Brandon Santos, Los Angeles, Calif.
Kandice Nelson, San Diego, Calif.
Seth Hetherington, Boulder, Colo.
Connor Williams, Woodridge, Ill.
Stephanie Roberts, Detroit, Mich.
Elizabeth Weingarten, Hammond, Wis.
Master of Business Administration
Chadron: James Healy, Gabrielle Michna
Ericson: Nicole Thramer
Lincoln: Adam Stover
North Platte: Sydney Holmes
Pickrell: Ryan Fee
Sidney: Logan Lapp
Denver: Ross Bryan
Fort Collins: Austin Vosler
Thornton: Palmer White
Casper: Jessica Berninzoni, Brandon Turner
Gillette: Kristin Gross
Other States and Countries
Amy O’Connell, Lake Arrowhead, Calif.
Dustin Mccormick, Perry, Fla.
Charles Barrett, Montezuma, Ga.
Justin Welch, Rigby, Idaho
Lee Vinchattle, Boone, Iowa
Nathan Smith, Dubuque, Iowa
Shemia Perry, Boston, Mass.
Marcia Satchell, Boston, Mass.
Dezeree’ Adair, Comstock Park, Mich.
John Karimi, Mt. Pleasant, Mich.
Katherine Chryst, Alden, Minn.
Lyla Ansah-Johnson, Howell, N.J.
Jaafar Noor, Buffalo, N.Y.
Joe Omilanowicz, Mexico, N.Y.
Chad Lanning, Saint Clairsville, Ohio
Brittaney Balliet, Rapid City, S.D.
Tyler Hayes, Spring Branch, Texas
John Navarro, Falls Church, Va.
Erica Bush, New Berlin, Wis.
George Soliman, Alexandria, Egypt
Anas Haddadi, Kenitra, Morocco
Master of Education
Bayard: Wade Kniss
Bushnell: Sara Schnell
Gering: Alyssa Block, Cristal Robbins
Hay Springs: Jana Binger
Lawrence: Courtney Buerer
St. Helena: Shawna Harrison
Valentine: Melissa Pilakowski
Dayton: Annie Seamann
Douglas: Melissa Hodgs, Nicole Tresch
Torrington: Lauren Mischke, Stacy Smith
Kaylon Anderson, Pueblo, Colo.
Breanna Doorenbos, Onawa, Iowa
Danielle Heft, Muskegon, Mich.
Christopher Wells, Lake Hiawatha, N.J.
Master of Science in Organizational Management
Chadron: Jessica McConnell
Eric Tucker, Palm Harbor, Fla.
Tia Cofield, Covington, Ga.
Brittany Osborne, Columbus, Ohio
Christian McGhee, Pine Ridge, S.D.
Tyler Schiltz, Powell, Wyo.