BenU at Mesa celebrates record number of graduates at second Commencement

May 23, 2016

Mesa, Ariz. ~ Benedictine University at Mesa reached another landmark in its development as a premier Catholic institution of higher learning on Saturday when 64 graduates turned their tassels and walked across the Commencement stage at the East Valley Institute of Technology.

Benedictine’s branch campus continues to grow in its role supporting the revitalization of downtown Mesa and in offering students across Southwestern Arizona a values-based education. Due to the number of graduates and family members at this year’s Commencement ceremony – the University’s second since establishing in Mesa in 2012 – the event was held at an off-site location.

More than 400 guests observed the event including proud parents, faculty, staff and friends of Benedictine. Public officials in attendance included Mesa Mayor John Giles, who gave a call to graduates.

John O. Whiteman – one of Mesa’s most devoted philanthropists, an advocate of early childhood learning and former CEO of the Caterpillar dealership Empire Southwest – gave the Commencement address.

Prior to the Commencement Convocation, the University held a special Hooding Ceremony, which is a tradition unique to Benedictine. Dating back to 1975, the Hooding Ceremony honors graduates with the presentation of the baccalaureate hood by a faculty or staff member chosen by the candidate. The purpose is to allow graduates the opportunity to recognize an individual who played an important part in their academic and personal development during their collegiate years.

“This is why we’re here,” said Kevin Broeckling, associate vice president for University Services and Student Life at BenU at Mesa. “It’s about preparing students for a lifetime of success, and this is a major step for them as they continue on that journey. We are in the business of educating values-based leaders and we look forward to our second class of graduates going out and serving their communities in Mesa and throughout Southwestern Arizona.”

The May 2016 graduates are:

Willard Allred, M.B.A., Mesa

Christina Alsayed, M.B.A., Gilbert

Carrie Aranda, M.B.A., Mesa

Nadia Azar, M.B.A., Glendale

Becky Barnett, M.B.A., Gilbert

Amy Berry, M.B.A., Maricopa

Nick Billings, M.B.A., Phoenix

Kevin Brewer, B.B.A. in Management and Organizational Behavior, Mesa

Scott Butler, M.B.A., Sun Tan Valley

Margaret Chen, M.B.A., Tempe

Fred Clare, M.B.A., San Tan Valley

Laurance Cobbs, M.B.A., Maricopa

Shawn Colomer, M.B.A., Mesa

John D’Anna, M.B.A., Mesa

Travis Dennee, M.B.A., Mesa

Gabriela Dewar, B.A. in Criminal Justice, Gilbert

Nicole Doetsch, M.B.A., Scottsdale

Jonathan Driggers, M.B.A., Phoenix

Veronica Driggers, M.B.A., Phoenix

Charles Everts, B.S. in Nutrition, Queen Creek

Amy Ferrari, M.B.A., Phoenix

Rachel Franco, M.B.A., Tempe

Robin Garrison, M.B.A., Mesa

David Gavilanes, M.B.A., Phoenix

Greg Goldsmith, M.B.A., Phoenix

John Golek, M.B.A., Phoenix

Elizabeth Gorski, M.B.A., Phoenix

Tracy Greer, M.B.A., Tempe

Annaliza Hansen, M.B.A., Tolleson

Kristen Hehr, M.B.A., Gilbert

Jonathan Herrera, M.B.A., Phoenix

Robert Hixson, M.B.A., Mesa

James Hoban, M.B.A., Mesa

Michael Hoke, M.B.A., Mesa

Stephen Jackson, M.B.A., Mesa

Howard Johnson, M.B.A., Queen Creek

Alvin Kempton, M.B.A., Coolidge

Christopher Laurella, M.B.A., Scottsdale

Michael Marion, M.B.A., Phoenix

Casey Martell, M.B.A., Phoenix

Derek Moore, M.B.A., Scottsdale

Angelica Mujica, M.B.A., Phoenix

Bryan Nelson, M.B.A., Chandler

David Nielson, M.B.A., Mesa

Jeffrey O’Connell, M.B.A., Mesa

Jennifer Olson, M.B.A., Chandler

Jacquelyn Orr, M.B.A., Scottsdale

Karla Pace, M.B.A., Chandler

Anna Piorkowski, B.A. in Communication Arts, Mesa

Sandra Potter, M.P.H., Gilbert

Brian Qualls, M.B.A., Phoenix

Kevin Roberg, M.B.A., Mesa

Steven Roberts, M.B.A., San Tan Valley

David Saunders, M.B.A., Phoenix

Kylie Southard, M.B.A., Phoenix

Derron Spencer, M.B.A., Goodyear

Gregory Spenla, M.B.A., Tempe

Hayley Spreng, B.A. in Psychology, Scottsdale

Steffen Spreng, B.A. in Psychology, Scottsdale

Andrew Stastny, M.B.A., Brandon, Fla.

Jason Stewart, M.B.A., Queen Creek

James Tinsley, M.B.A., Gilbert

Selene Vilalobos, M.B.A., Laveen

Michelle Yellowhorse, M.B.A., Surprise


Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded in 1887, Benedictine is ranked No. 2 among the country’s fastest-growing campuses between 2003-2013 in The Chronicle of Higher Education’s list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015.

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