Students honored during 2010 Commencement

Mount Mercy’s two highest awards for graduates were presented during the 2010 Commencement ceremony, held on Sunday, May 23: The Mary Catherine McAuley Award and the Mary Frances Warde Award. The McAuley Award is the highest honor given to a student who has attended Mount Mercy for four years. The Warde Award is the highest honor given to a student who transferred to Mount Mercy. The President’s Award, given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding perseverance and diligence in pursuing his or her goals, was given during the Honor’s Convocation on Saturday, May 22. 

Mount Mercy Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs John P. Marsden, Ph.D., introduced the candidates and President Christopher Blake, Ph.D., conferred Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Business Administration, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Applied Arts, Bachelor of Applied Science and Bachelor of Science in Nursing degrees to undergraduates during the ceremony. For the first time in its more than 80-year history, Master’s degrees were also conferred upon graduates at Commencement, marking a milestone in the institution’s history. Of the more than 400 students recognized at Commencement, 32 earned their Master’s degrees in Business or Education.

Terry Waite, humanitarian, hostage negotiator, and author of Taken on Trust, served as the institution’s Commencement speaker during the ceremony. 

Jennifer Leigh Petersen, a nursing major from Cedar Rapids, delivered an address on behalf of the senior class.

Mary Catherine McAuley Award

Yesenia Mendoza head shotYesenia Mendoza Ramirez, a political science and international studies major from Austin, Minn., received the Mary Catherine McAuley Award, which is presented to the graduate who, in addition to a high scholastic ranking of 3.0 or above, has exemplified a marked degree of cooperation with administration, faculty and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The award is named for Mary Catherine McAuley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland 1831.

Mendoza Ramirez participated in a variety of campus activities and organizations throughout her college career, including the Student Government Association, where she served as vice president, chair of the senate and chair of the student elections committee in 2009, as well as coordinator of clubs in 2008. Mendoza Ramirez also participated on Mount Mercy’s SIFE (Students in Free Enterprise) Team, which has won 13 consecutive regional championships. She was a member of Mount Mercy’s soccer team, named to the Academic All-Midwest Collegiate Conference, participated in the Stang Christian Fellowship club, Antioch Christian Retreat, and served on the International Programs Director Committee.

In addition to all her activities, Mendoza Ramirez has been named to the Dean’s List, was a nominee for Student of the Year, was a Hispanic Scholarship Fund and Hormel Scholarship recipient, and is a member of the National Political Science Honor Society, Pi Sigma Alpha. Upon graduation, Ramirez plans to return to Austin, Minn., where she hopes to develop and run a program that will inspire the growing Latino student body in Austin to become more involved and integrated with school.

Mary Frances Warde Award

Catalina De La Quintana head shotCatalina De la Quintana, an international studies major from Santiago, Chile, received the Mary Frances Warde Award, the highest honor given a student who has transferred into Mount Mercy and has acquired a minimum of 30 credit hours at the College. The award is conferred upon the graduate who, in addition to a high scholastic rating (3.0 or above), has exemplified to a marked degree cooperation with administration, faculty, and students; integrity in his/her personal relationships; and leadership and loyalty in furthering the ideals of Mount Mercy. The award is named for Mary Frances Warde, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in America in 1843.

Quintana excelled as a student-athlete while at Mount Mercy, serving as a point guard on the Women’s Basketball team as well as playing for the Chilean National Team. She has participated in numerous international competitions, including the 2009 FIBA Americas Championship for Women in Brazil, the 2008 South American Championship, the 2007 FIBA Americas Championship and the 2005 South American Under-17 Championship. Quintana received All-Midwest Collegiate Conference Honors her senior year at Mount Mercy, after receiving honorable mentions a year ago. Quintana was a member of Mount Mercy’s International Club and served as a work-study for the facilities department, campus switchboard, and at the Hennessey Recreation center, where she volunteered at numerous athletic events. Upon graduation, Quintana plans on pursuing a professional basketball career in the Czech Republic.

President’s Award

Matt Hakemann head shotMatthew Hakeman, a biology major from Williamsburg, Iowa, received the President’s Award during the Honors Convocation held on Saturday, May 22. The President’s Award is given to a graduating senior who has demonstrated outstanding perseverance and diligence in pursuing his or her goals.

Hakeman has exhibited outstanding motivation and diligence in his college career, participating in numerous campus activities and research endeavors related to his major. He was selected Sophomore of the Year for the 2007-08 academic semester. In 2008 – 2009, he served as the secretary for the Student Government Association, as a Residence Assistance (RA), served on the Sustainability Committee and participated in Track and Field, where he was an All Academic Athlete in 2008, 2009, and 2010. Hakeman also participated in the Emerging Leaders Program.

In addition to his campus activities, Hakeman also excelled in his academic career, working extensively with Mount Mercy’s faculty on research endeavors involving the protein PICK1. The goal of their research is to gain a better understanding of PICK1's function and regulation in the cell. PICK1 is a protein in the cell that interacts with other proteins involved with learning, memory, cancer, and neuronal development. Hakeman has presented his research at the McElroy Student/Faculty Research Symposium at Wartburg College; at the Iowa Academy of Sciences Meeting at Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa; at the University of Iowa College of Medicine in Iowa City, Iowa; and at the Monsanto Research Symposia at Monsanto Global Headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon graduation, Hakeman plans to pursue graduate school, focusing on research and genetics.

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