Date: January 15, 2009
Contact: Lindsay Gladstone
Governors State University
Phone: (708) 534-7090
Fax: (708) 534-8399
For Immediate Release
University Park, IL, January 15, 2009 - At its Winter Commencement ceremony on January 31, Governors State University will grant more than 650 bachelor’s and master’s degrees to students who have worked diligently and with great success toward this goal. The university will also award an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), to Dr. Blondean Davis, Superintendent of Matteson School District 162.
“Dr. Davis’ exceptional work as an educator and dedication to the achievement of all children deserve our greatest respect, deepest gratitude, and the highest honor the university can bestow,” said Dr. Elaine P. Maimon, President of Governors State University.
According to Maimon, more than 4,500 graduates of GSU’s College of Education teach in Illinois’ schools including the schools in Matteson School District 162.
Under Davis’ leadership, the students of District 162 attained a 45 percent rise in achievement scores on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. Schools in her district rank among the top elementary schools in the state. In 2008, Dr. Davis was named Illinois Superintendent of the Year.
In addition to Dr. Davis, the graduates will also hear from student speaker Sheryl Yarbough of Chicago Heights. Yarbough is receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies. For the past 18 years, she has worked for the Illinois Department of Corrections and is currently a Senior Parole Agent.
“It gnawed at me that I did not have a degree. I decided to return to school because I wanted to be formally educated,” said Yarbough. “My thirst for knowledge is why I went back to school.”
According to Yarbough, “Everyone at GSU fully embraced me, from financial aid counselors to my program advisors, and from the professors to members of student government. I was welcomed and encouraged all the way.”
GSU Commencement will take place on Saturday, January 31, at 11 a.m., at the Tinley Park Convention Center, Tinley Park, Illinois.