NWU to Confer Degrees on May 8

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Karen Linder, commencement speaker

Karen Linder, executive chairwoman of Tethon 3D, will deliver the commencement speech to the Class of 2021 and will receive an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from NWU.

Coleen Seng, honorary degree

Coleen Seng, former mayor of Lincoln, has been recognized with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Boyd Bacon

Boyd Bacon, assistant professor of music, is retiring after 33 years of leading Men's Glee, Jazz Choir, teaching music lessons and arranging and composing music at NWU.

James Schaffer, senior professor of journalism

James Schaffer, senior professor of journalism, is retiring after 31 years of teaching news writing, feature writing and photojournalism and advising the student newspaper.

Vickie Wenzl, assistant professor of nursing

Vickie Wenzl, assistant professor of nursing, is retiring after five years of teaching courses on maternal child health, pathophysiology, health assessment, global health and pharmacology.

Karen Linder, commencement speaker
Coleen Seng, honorary degree
Boyd Bacon
James Schaffer, senior professor of journalism
Vickie Wenzl, assistant professor of nursing

Nebraska Wesleyan University will confer degrees to over 450 students during its 132nd commencement on Saturday, May 8.

Commencement begins at 10 a.m. at Abel Stadium, located on the NWU campus.

Karen Linder, executive chairwoman of Tethon 3D, will deliver the commencement address. Linder is an accomplished scientist, author and business executive. She is executive chairwoman of Tethon 3D, an advanced manufacturing company in Omaha that produces materials and machines for ceramic 3D printing.

Born in Omaha and raised in northeast Lincoln, Linder graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1982 with a degree in biology. She was trained as a cytotechnologist in Des Moines and returned to Nebraska for employment at Good Samaritan Hospital in Kearney. Linder is a former faculty member of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha where she founded the School of Cytotechnology. She served as president of the American Society for Cytotechnology and founded the national Journal of Cytotechnology, serving as its editor.

In 2001 she opened Heartland Pathology, an independent pathology reference laboratory. After selling the company a decade later, her business and writing passion continued with publication of The Women of Berkshire Hathaway. She currently presents educational seminars on the topics of entrepreneurship, women’s leadership and women in business and mentors fellow entrepreneurs.

She and her husband, Dr. James Linder, formed Linseed Capital LLC, an investment fund for early-stage companies. Linder was inducted into the Omaha Business Hall of Fame in 2020 and previously was honored by the Women’s Center for Advancement in Omaha.

She will be recognized with an Honorary Doctor of Science degree.

This spring, an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree was bestowed on Coleen Seng, a 1958 graduate of Nebraska Wesleyan. Her passion to serve took root when she represented northeast Lincoln on the Lincoln City Council from 1987 to 2003. She was then elected to serve a four-year term as Lincoln’s 50th mayor. As mayor, Seng supported neighborhood associations as a method for residents to organize and have a voice in decisions affecting their lives. She was active in the University Place Community Organization (UPCO) for many years and served as tri-chair and advocate for the Antelope Valley Project and its community revitalization elements.

Seng served as director of community ministries at First University Methodist Church from 1977 to 1997 before deciding to devote more time to her work as a Lincoln City Council member and then as mayor. After leaving the mayor’s office in 2007, she returned to First Church and served another eight years as director of community ministries. Following 28 years of collective service to her congregation, she retired in 2015.

The university will celebrate three retiring faculty including Boyd Bacon, assistant professor of music; James Schaffer, senior professor of journalism; and Vickie Wenzl, assistant professor of nursing.

Bacon has taught at NWU for 33 years, serving as director of Men’s Glee and Jazz Choir. He taught voice lessons and music for elementary education majors. He served as the director of Women’s Choir for three years and of the Chamber Singers for one year. Bacon also arranged and wrote music for NWU and community music groups.

Schaffer is retiring after 31 years at NWU where he taught news writing, feature writing, print design and photojournalism. He served as the advisor to The Yip, the student newspaper, taught first-year students in the Archway Seminar, and served as chair of the English Department from 2000-2007.

Wenzl taught at NWU for five years teaching courses in maternal child health, pathophysiology, health assessment, global health and pharmacology. She served on the Nursing Admissions Committee, Undergraduate Academic Standards, and as an advisor to the Student Nurse Association (SNA).

Baccalaureate will be held on Friday, May 7 at 5 p.m. at First United Methodist Church. The service is for graduates only to allow for necessary social distancing at the church. A livestream will be provided.

watch a livestream on the commencement webpage. The webpage includes additional commencement details. The traditional Final Walk will immediately follow the commencement ceremony and will be streamed on the NWU Facebook page.