William Woods to Graduate 545 Students in Two Ceremonies

A native of the Ivory Coast in West Africa, who is now a senior research scientist for Campbell Soup Company, will speak at William Woods University’s undergraduate commencement.


Graduate students, most of whom will be receiving graduate education degrees, will hear from the superintendent-designate of Moberly Public Schools.


A total of 545 students will receive diplomas. With ceremonies in August and December, the combined number of WWU graduates since last May is 1,106.


Because of the large numbers, WWU will again hold two commencement ceremonies—one for graduate students at 7 p.m. Friday, May 9, and one for undergraduates at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10. 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.


Mark Penny, currently assistant superintendent for the Moberly school district and an adjunct professor for WWU, will address students receiving graduate degrees Friday evening. WWU will award 17 master of business administration (MBA), 291 master of education (M.Ed.) and 68 specialist of education in school administration (Ed.S.) degrees Friday.


Following Kouassi Kouakou’s remarks on Saturday, William Woods will grant three associate of art, 21 bachelor of arts, 139 bachelor of science and six bachelor of social work degrees.


Friday’s speaker, Penny, has 16 years of teaching and administrative experience, of which 11 have been with the Moberly School District. He has served as a middle school social studies teacher, high school assistant principal and principal, and is currently the assistant superintendent for the district.

Penny has been named the Moberly superintendent of schools, starting with the 2008-09 school year. Prior to becoming a team member in Moberly, he was a social studies teacher in the Mexico and Harrisburg School Districts.


He holds a bachelor of science degree in education (social science major) from Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, Ark.; a master of education, secondary administration, from William Woods University, and an educational specialists degree, superintendent administration, from WWU.


Saturday’s speaker, Kouakou, was employed as a quality assurance manager for ConAgra Flour Milling, working in Nebraska, Oklahoma and Pennsylvania, from 1995 to 1999. He was corporate director of quality assurance and technical services for Conte Luna Foods (Pasta Manufacturing Co.) from 1999 to 2002, when he joined Campbell Soup Company as senior research scientist and ingredient technologist.


Originally from the Ivory Coast (West Africa), he earned a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry from the University of Abidjan in 1986. He was then selected by the Ministry of Scientific Education as one of the elite for higher education abroad, which brought him to the United States.


He attended Kansas State University, where he earned his master of science degree in food science and technology in 1990. He went on to receive his Ph.D. in grain science and industry with a focus on cereal grain chemistry in 1995.