University of Southern Indiana

2019 Commencement Speakers

Commencement ceremony for Graduate Students on April 26, 2019

Donna WhiteDr. Donna M. White D'16, Commencement Speaker
Dr. Donna M. White earned her doctor of nursing practice degree from USI in 2016. Prior to her degree from USI, White earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Culver-Stockton College in 1989; a master’s degree in community health administration and wellness promotion from Independence University in 1996; and a master’s degree in nursing education from American Sentinel University in 2012.

White is an associate professor of nursing at Hannibal-LaGrange University where she also serves as the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN to BSN) program coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for the direction and coordination of the online RN to BSN Program, including curriculum, program and student outcomes, accreditation and other administrative roles. She also has served as an associate editor for the Journal of Christian Nursing, where she reviewed manuscript submissions, performed copy editing, wrote editorials and collaborated with the editing and publishing team to make decisions on manuscripts for publication for the Journal and the Nurses of Christian Fellowship.

In 2012, White received the American Sentinel University Deans Award and became a member of the American Sentinel University Nursing Honors Society. She was honored with the University of Southern Indiana Graduate Scholarship Award in 2015. She resides in Golden, Illinois, with her husband. They have three children and one grandson.

Written by Benjamin Luttrull, media relations specialist, University Communications

Richard WeaverRichard Weaver D’19, Reflection Speaker
Jacksonville, Florida resident Richard Weaver has been a student his whole life. It began with his learning the meaning of hard work from his mother, who worked two jobs in order to raise her children, and continued as he learned about sportsmanship from his high school football coaches. He learned about brotherhood as an Army medic, and he learned compassion as a licensed practical nurse, working at Jacksonville’s University Medical Center, which serves a large homeless and indigent population. “That was hard work, you not only had a high nurse/patient ratio, but you were dealing with mental health needs, drugs and AIDS. That experience really shaped me into the nurse I am today,” Weaver says.

After completing his RN, he believed he could do more for underserved populations by teaching other young nurses how to treat vulnerable patients. He looked at USI’s Master of Science in Nursing program based on a recommendation from a preceptor who was enrolled. Weaver looked at the program’s website and saw that the goals and strategies aligned with his. Being ranked 28th Best Online Nursing Program according to U.S. News and Word Reports convinced him USI was the perfect fit. He found mentors in Dr. Melissa Hall, chair of the Master of Science in Nursing Program, and Dr. C. Elizabeth Bonham, associate professor of nursing, and was determined to not only complete his master’s but his doctorate as well. As an academic, he looks forward to working with graduate students and encouraging them to work hard and not settle for anything ordinary. “My education at USI has really been an extraordinary experience.”

This #USIGrad story was written by Barbara Goodwin, senior administrative assistant for photography and multimedia

Commencement ceremony for Undergraduate Students on April 27, 2019

Stan TretterDr. Stanley Tretter MHA’17, Commencement Speaker
The Commencement speaker for the College of Nursing and Health Professions was Dr. Stanley J. Tretter, master’s class of 2017. Tretter earned a bachelor’s degree summa cum laude in biology from Wabash College, a doctorate in medicine from Indiana University with a residency in family practice from Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, and a Master of Health Administration degree from USI.

Tretter is the vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer for Memorial Hospital and Health Care Center (MHHCC) in Jasper, Indiana, where he also has served as a family physician since 2001. MHHCC has received a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) five-star rating for overall quality of inpatient care since the ratings were released. In 2018, MHHCC was named a recipient of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, presented annually by the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the highest level of national recognition for performance excellence that a U.S. organization can receive.

Tretter’s organizational and community service efforts include being the executive director of the Southwestern Indiana Graduate Medical Education Consortium and the Regional Clerkship Site Leader for Family Medicine for the Indiana University School of Medicine. He is a member and past president of the Spencer County Board of Health, an officer for the Edwin C. Tretter Foundation, and has served on numerous councils and committees within MHHCC, including serving as a member of the Board of Directors for Memorial Hospital from 2012-15. He and his wife Jennifer reside in Ferdinand, Indiana, with their three daughters.

Written by Benjamin Luttrull, media relations specialist, University Communications

Katelyn EarlKatelyn Earl ’19, Reflection Speaker
Katelyn Earl ‘19 always knew she wanted to be a Screaming Eagle. “I’m from Carmi, Illinois, and my family and I would always come to Evansville to go shopping, and I always used to say, ‘One day I’m going to go to USI,’” she says. After touring campus, Katelyn knew immediately that her college search was over. “Being able to see the campus in person and in full-bloom, and not just from the road driving in the car, really opened my eyes and showed me this is where I belong,” she says. “The Climbing Center was also a huge deciding factor for me. In Carmi, you never get to experience things like that.”

She was inspired by her father to pursue a degree in radiologic technology and imaging sciences. Her father, a Vietnam veteran, has seen his fair share of doctors’ offices, and Katelyn has always been there to support him through his battles. She noticed that some of the hospitals and doctors’ offices her father frequented were not giving the top-quality care people, especially veterans, deserved. “It pushed me to want to become a better practitioner for people like my dad, who have served our country, and for people who are not veterans,” she explains. “People in general deserve better care.”

Throughout her four years at USI, Katelyn has taken on a strenuous classwork load, and put in countless clinical hours, all while working three jobs—in St. Vincent’s Nuclear Medicine Department, at the RFWC’s Climbing Center and at Deaconess as an x-ray and CT aide. “I’m excited to graduate and hopefully go from three jobs to one,” she laughs.

This #USIGrad profile was written by Kaylee Johnson '20, a student worker in University Communications


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