Southeastern will honor its summer and fall 2022 graduates with two commencement ceremonies on Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., university officials announced. Scheduled in the University Center, the 10 a.m. ceremony will honor graduates in the colleges of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, Education, and Science and Technology, while the 3 p.m. ceremony will honor the colleges of Business and Nursing and Health Sciences.

The University will confer more than 1,000 degrees on students who are graduating with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Tangipahoa Parish Superintendent of Schools Melissa Stilley will be honored with Southeastern’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 3 p.m. ceremony.

A veteran educator with 35 years in the field, Stilley has served at every instructional level in the public school system—classroom teacher, assistant principal, principal, supervisor of curriculum and instruction, and chief academic officer. In July 2012, she was tapped for a role as network leader in the district support division of the Louisiana Department of Education. Over the next several years, Stilley had the opportunity to work with over half of the public school districts across the state. In 2018, she “returned home” after being appointed to serve as Tangipahoa’s first female Superintendent of Schools.

Stilley is a 2018 Distinguished Alumna for the College of Education at Southeastern, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education in 1987, her master’s degree in school administration in 1999, her plus 30 in special education in 2000, and in 2018 completed coursework toward a doctorate in educational leadership. She has been an advocate for professional development and is always recommending books, videos, and podcasts to impart knowledge to her friends, family, and colleagues.

During her tenure as superintendent, Stilley has focused her time and energy around what she refers to as four buckets of work: systems to ensure smooth operations, implementation of high-quality curriculum—complete with interventions for students, strategies to ensure positive school culture, and efforts to recruit and retain top talent for the district. She identified and defined core values for the district, calling for everyone in the system to be respectful, compassionate, and to pursue greatness in everything they say and do.

Additionally, Stilley led efforts to redesign the parish’s alternative school in a proactive approach to stop the school-to-prison pipeline by relying on small group counseling, community mentorships, rehabilitation and restorative practices, and establishing individualized academic plans for students who enroll in the program.

In recent years, Southeastern instituted additional safety and security measures, including a mandatory clear bag policy, bag checks for guest entry, and a list of prohibited items. The list is available at southeastern.edu/commencement by clicking the guest information for winter commencement tab.

The Southeastern Channel also livestreams commencement so family and friends unable to attend can watch from their homes or mobile devices. The 10 a.m. ceremony live stream can be accessed here and the 3 p.m. here

After the ceremonies, each will be available via on-demand at the YouTube links above. The week following graduation, the ceremonies will be broadcasted on the Southeastern Channel (Charter Spectrum 199, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire TV, thesoutheasternchannel.com) and via on-demand.

More information about the commencement ceremonies can be found at southeastern.edu/commencement.

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