Joseph Driskill, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, will deliver the commencement address on Dec. 14 at Southeast Missouri State University.
The ceremony is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Show Me Center. In all, 563 students are scheduled to graduate including 460 undergraduates and 103 graduate students.
Driskill has directed the state's economic development department since 1993. He oversees more than 1,600 employees, a total budget of $248 million, and outlays of more than $200 million in tax credits and other financial assistance to Missouri cities and businesses.
Dr. Jack Sterrett, chairman of the marketing department at Southeast, will receive the Pride Award during the ceremony, school officials announced. The award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, scholarship and service. Sterrett was selected by the council of deans from nominations from each of the university's colleges and schools.
The graduating class includes eight undergraduates with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. They include Shawn Haley and Maria Stilson of Cape Girardeau, Sarah Stiegemeyer-Schubert of Jackson, Adam Baker of Marble Hill, Mo., Sarah Berkbigler of Perryville, Mo., and Heath Dawley of Anna, Ill.
Haley will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in French; Stilson will graduate with a bachelor of science in nursing; Stiegemeyer-Schubert and Dawley, bachelor of science in education; and Baker and Berkbigler, bachelor of science in business administration.
Terica Ernst of Biehle, Mo., is one of two honors scholars being recognized in the graduating class.
Honor scholars must complete 24 hours of honors coursework, maintain at least a 3.25 grade point average and complete a senior research project, Southeast officials said.
Four students will graduate with academic distinction in their major fields, including Mindy Horrell of Jackson who will be recognized for her accomplishments in art.
An honors convocation for 99 undergraduates and 59 graduate students will be held at 10:30 a.m. in the Show Me Center.
Dr. Wes Mueller, agriculture department chairman, will deliver the convocation address.
Among the undergraduates participating in the honors convocation, 22 will graduate summa cum laude; 28, magna cum laude; and 46, cum laude. Three will graduate with honors in two-year, associate degrees.
A student must earn a grade point average of 3.5 to 3.74 to graduate cum laude; 3.75 to 3.89 to graduate magna cum laude; and 3.9 to 4.0 to graduate summa cum laude.