MMU Graduation Day 2: The President’s Surprise


MMU Times photographer

MMU Times photographer Shannon Brown shoots images of the “Who’s Who” group after the honors convocation in the Chapel of Mercy at MMU today.

Well, day two of graduation events at MMU centers around the “Honors Convocation,” in which majors and the university overall recognize some outstanding students.

Communication graduates did very well. Ryan Pleggenkuhle and Jennifer Koenighain, editor and campus editor, were recognized as outstanding journalism and outstanding public relations students.

Elizabeth Brumm, our managing editor, was honored for her extensive service work with an award from Campus Ministry, among other honors.

But the best was last. This was an unusual year, because we’re graduating two editors-in-chief at the MMU Times. Ryan led the paper this year, but last year’s editor, Cynthia Petersen, was a December graduate of MMU and is back for the graduation weekend.

She had been invited to attend the honors convocation, and thought it was just because she was among students named to “Who’s Who.”

Dr. Christopher Blake, MMU’s president, gives out his own personal award each year. And, this year, Dr. Blake chose Cynthia.

Well, kudos. She is a brave woman who exemplifies the spirit of MMU in many ways, not the least of which is the can-do gumption to start her own newspaper and hire herself in order to enter the world of journalism. It reminds me, a bit, of the Sisters of Mercy I’ve met. Whatever else you can say about that group of educated, intelligent and resourceful women who started Mount Mercy, one thing that to me always stands out about them is how of this world they are, how practical and pragmatic, sometimes even hard-headed.

They built MMU and other universities and hospitals and grew them in good times and bad. They are women who know how to make things work.

As does Cynthia, who is owner and publisher of Iowa’s newest newspaper, the “Hiawatha Advocate.”

Dr. Blake, thank you, I believe it was a good choice but it was a nice choice on your part, too. And Cynthia, you go, girl. You’re working harder on your dreams than anybody else I know, and that seems a very admirable, and very Mercy, thing to do.

Ryan and Mom

I was hoping to get all 4 award-winning Times staffers–Cindy, Ryan, Biz and Jennifer–together, but missed most of them. Happy to shoot this image of Ryan Pleggenkuhle, outstanding journalism student of the year for 2012 from MMU, with his mother, Lynn Pleggenkuhle.

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