Sen. McCaskill to Address WWU Graduates; Commencement to Set Record

Senator Claire McCaskillDuring what will be William Woods University’s largest commencement weekend to date, Claire McCaskill, United States Senator from Missouri, will speak at the undergraduate commencement Saturday (May 9).


Graduate students, most of whom will be receiving graduate education degrees, will hear from the executive director of the Missouri Association of School Administrators (MASA), Roger Kurtz Friday evening.   


A record-breaking total of 625 students will receive diplomas (the previous high was 591 two years ago). With ceremonies in August and December, the combined number of WWU graduates since last May is 1,359.


Because of the large numbers, WWU will again hold two commencement ceremonies—one for graduate students at 7 p.m. Friday, May 8, and one for undergraduates at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 9. Both ceremonies will be held in Cutlip Auditorium of the McNutt Campus Center.


Prior to Saturday’s commencement, William Woods will hold its traditional Ivy Chain Ceremony at 9:15 a.m. around Senior Lake.


Kurtz, MASA director since 2007, will address students receiving graduate degrees Friday evening. WWU will award 17 master of business administration (MBA), 417 master of education (M.Ed.) and 46 specialist of education in school administration (Ed.S.) degrees Friday.


Following McCaskill’s remarks on Saturday, William Woods will grant three associate of arts, 18 bachelor of arts, 119 bachelor of science and five bachelor of social work degrees.

 Roger Kurtz

Friday’s speaker, Kurtz, is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism. After serving as a staff photographer and writer for the St. Joseph News-Press in St. Joseph, Mo., he was employed by Missouri Farm Bureau in Jefferson City as editor of their monthly newspaper. 


He then accepted the position of school community relations for the Jefferson City Public Schools, a position he held from 1985 to 2000. He served as the MASA associate executive director from 2000 until 2007, when he was named the executive director of MASA.

Saturday’s speaker, Senator McCaskill, graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A. in political science and received her juris doctor from the MU Law School. She clerked for the Missouri Court of Appeals in Kansas City and then got a job as an assistant prosecutor in Kansas City.


In 1982, McCaskill won a seat in the State Legislature, and in 1993 she became the first female prosecutor for Jackson County, Mo. She held this position until she was sworn in as Missouri Auditor in 1999. In November of 2006, McCaskill became the first woman elected to the United States Senate from Missouri.