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Miranda Foster raised her arms as she crossed Northwest's commencement stage at Bearcat Arena last spring. Northwest will celebrate its 2018 spring graduates April 27-28. (Northwest Missouri State University photos)

Miranda Foster raised her arms as she crossed Northwest's commencement stage at Bearcat Arena last spring. Northwest will celebrate its 2018 spring graduates April 27-28. (Northwest Missouri State University photos)

April 12, 2018

More than 850 expected to receive degrees during spring commencement ceremonies April 27-28

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Dr. Jim Eiswert

Dr. Jim Eiswert

Dr. Katy Strickland

Dr. Katy Strickland

Northwest graduates are encouraged to decorate their caps to show their Bearcat pride, creativity and style.

Northwest graduates are encouraged to decorate their caps to show their Bearcat pride, creativity and style.

Northwest Missouri State University will celebrate its 2018 spring graduates Friday, April 27, and Saturday, April 28, with two dedicated faculty members delivering the commencement addresses to the degree candidates and their families.

The commencement ceremonies begin at 7 p.m. Friday in Bearcat Arena when Northwest confers master’s and education specialist degrees and recognizes candidates for its doctoral degree in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis with the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Jim Eiswert, an associate professor of philosophy who is retiring this spring after 27 years at Northwest, will address the Friday evening ceremony.

“Master’s degree candidates will benefit from hearing of Dr. Eiswert’s life’s work and passion focused on expansion of critical thinking, continuous inquiry, lifelong learning and connections,” Northwest President Dr. John Jasinski said. “Jim has brought so much to our campus over his years of service – and has positively impacted not just students but the work and meaning thereof for all of his colleagues across campus and well beyond.”

The University will honor bachelor’s degree candidates from the Melvin D. and Valorie G. Booth School of Business and Professional Studies, the School of Agricultural Sciences, the School of Education, and the School of Computer Science and Information Systems at 10 a.m. Saturday in Bearcat Arena. Bachelor’s degree candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Communication and Mass Media, and the School of Health Science and Wellness will be honored at 2 p.m. Saturday in Bearcat Arena. Dr. Katy Strickland, the University’s most recent Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education recipient, will address both Saturday ceremonies.

“Without question, Dr. Strickland’s perspective, work and life experiences and her time at Northwest will help provide a superior message to our bachelor’s degree candidates,” Jasinski said. “Representing teaching excellence and being our 2018 Governor’s Award recipient, Dr. Strickland lives out our mission of focusing on student success and the importance of engaging students in and out of the classroom. We are honored to have her represent our outstanding faculty at Northwest.”

Northwest expects more than 850 students to receive degrees this spring. The University reports nearly 200 students will receive master’s or specialist degrees through the University’s graduate school, and at least 650 undergraduate students are expected to receive bachelor’s degrees.

Doors will open to guests one hour prior to each ceremony. No tickets are necessary to attend the ceremonies. To accommodate guests who cannot attend, Northwest will offer a live online stream of the ceremonies at   

Graduates along with their families and friends also are invited to interact with Northwest social media before, during and after the commencement ceremonies. Users may share their graduation memories on Twitter by using the hashtag #NWGrad, or submit graduation photos to Northwest’s Flickr feed. Photos may be taken with mobile devices and emailed to Submitted photos will appear immediately on Northwest’s Flickr page at

Candidates for graduation may pick up caps and gowns on the first floor of the Administration Building from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 23, through Friday, April 27, or one hour prior to each ceremony on April 27 and April 28.

More information about Eiswert and Strickland is provided below. For more details about commencement ceremonies at Northwest, visit


About Dr. Jim Eiswert

Eiswert joined the Northwest faculty in 1988 and retires this spring as an associate professor of philosophy in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences.

His teaching experience also includes four years at Conception Seminary College in nearby Conception, Missouri, and seven years at a University of Louvain in Belgium. Eiswert earned his Ph.D. in philosophy as well as a Licentiate of Philosophy and a Bachelor of Philosophy from the Institute of Philosophy at the University of Louvain. He has a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature from Siena College in Loudonville, New York.

Eiswert received the College of Arts and Sciences’ Faculty Excellence Award for Service in 2017, and he was Northwest’s recipient of the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Education in 2001. He has served in numerous capacities at Northwest, most recently on strategic leadership teams for which he was directly involved in the development of the University’s mission outcomes and their connection to extra-curricular programs. As a member of the Extended Leadership Team, he has served as a voice for faculty during difficult curricular and budgetary decisions. Eiswert also is an actor, having appeared in productions staged by Northwest as well as the Nodaway County Theater Company.


About Dr. Katy Strickland

Strickland joined the Northwest faculty in fall 2013 and serves as assistant professor of music and director of athletic bands. She was appointed chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts during the summer of 2017.

Prior to her arrival at Northwest, Strickland spent 13 years teaching high school band in rural southern Louisiana and earned her doctorate degree at Louisiana State University. Her credentials include degrees in music education and experience conducting and teaching marching band, concert band and percussion, in addition to being a percussionist herself.

Strickland is regarded at all levels – whether teaching applied lessons, advanced methods course or introductory music education courses – as an excellent teacher. She has played a significant role in the renewal of the Bearcat Marching Band, which continues to improve in quality and enrollment. Students describe her as energetic, engaging, inclusive, motivating, challenging and rate her very high in overall evaluation score.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215