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Midland University honors four students at 2017 Commencement ceremony

Midland University honors four students at 2017 Commencement ceremony

May 15th , 2017

Midland University honored four of its new graduates during the 2017 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 13, in the Wikert Event Center.

• Tyler Ripperger of Hastings, Nebraska, received the Prauner Award, the institution’s most prestigious student honor.

• Joe Logue of Bennington, Nebraska, was presented with the Outstanding Performing Arts Student Award.

• Cole Gray of Ontario, California, was honored with the Petrow Award, which is presented annually to the university’s outstanding male student-athlete. 

• KC Heimann of Howells, Nebraska, was presented the Bracker Outstanding Athlete Award, presented to the most outstanding female student-athlete. 

Midland University awarded master and bachelor degrees to 350 students during the annual Commencement ceremony. Allan Beermann, executive director of the Nebraska Press Association and 1962 Midland alumnus, delivered the commencement address.

The Prauner Award is given each year to a graduating senior who exemplifies the spirit, academic achievement and service to the university as did John Prauner, who while at Midland in the mid-1970s was president of Kappa Phi Fraternity, secretary treasurer of Phi Beta Lambda, the business honorary society, president of Blue Key Honorary society, an outstanding football player, and named to Who’s Who during his senior year.  

Ripperger, the son of Pam and Rick Ripperger, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with minors in Chemistry and History. While at Midland, Ripperger was a resident assistant, a member of the basketball team, and an honor student. He was named to Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and received the Outstanding Senior in Biology and the STAR: Learning awards.

“I hope my most noteworthy contribution to Midland will be the impact I had on the university’s academic community,” Ripperger wrote earlier this year. “In my four years here, I have put a lot of effort into the classes and academic departments I have been involved in. The Biology department, History and Philosophy, all of these are areas of campus that I hope I am remembered in as someone who brought value to the classroom.”

Riggerger will be attending the University of Arizona and entering their PhD program for Biological and Biomedical Sciences.

The Outstanding Performing Arts Student Award is given to a Midland University senior who has demonstrated exemplary participation in the Performing Arts as a Choral Music, Dance Arts, Instrumental Music, Technical Arts, Theatre Performance or Worship Arts student. Nominees have shown evidence of superior achievement in at least one Performing Arts area, as well as success in at least one additional area. Students also must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA and show evidence of positive leadership, character and service.

Logue, who earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics and Computer Science, has participated in the Midland University Choir and Chamber Choir, band and drumline, the Clef Dwellers, the Acoustic Performance class, and many performances in musicals, capped off with a role as the lead, Harold Hill in the Music Man. He has held many leadership opportunities in the Arts by being a member of the Arts Council, holding an Arts Technician work study position, and a section leader in Choir. After graduation he plans to work full time with JEO Consulting Group working in the IT department.

The Petrow Award, established in 1946 as a memorial to George “Babe” Petrow, is presented to the outstanding all-around male athlete each year. George Petrow was a four-sport letter winner in football, basketball, tennis and track and was a member of the famed Midland Little Giants football team.

Gray, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Computer Science, has been a four-year starter for the Warriors on the diamond, and has been recognized with All-GPAC honors in each of those seasons. In 2016, he was named a CoSIDA Second Team Academic All-American and stands as the only player in program history to be honored with that award. The two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete has been named to the Dean’s List three times. On the field, Gray has been a part of three conference championship teams; winning the 2014 postseason title, the 2016 regular season crown, and earlier this week winning the 2017 postseason championship. Named the 2017 GPAC Co-Player of the Year, he led the conference with a .415 batting average, hits, slugging, doubles and total bases. 

Established in 1975, and rededicated in 2012 in honor of the coaching legacy of Joanne Bracker, the Bracker Outstanding Athlete Award is presented to the best all-around Midland female athlete based on her athletic ability, contribution, responsibility, attitude, dedication, leadership, sportsmanship, spirit and character. 

Heimann, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Special Education, K-12, earned All-American honors both on the court and in the classroom. She capped her career by leading the Midland volleyball team to the NAIA National Championship Final Four. She was named a 2016 NAIA Second Team All-American on the court and a 2016 CoSIDA First Team Academic All-American. Heimann is Midland’s all-time leader in kills with 1,607 in her career. She helped lead her team to the National Championship in all four seasons as Midland won the 2013 GPAC Postseason Championship and the 2016 GPAC Regular Season Championship. Additionally, she was named to the Dean’s List three times and the President’s List twice.  

Midland awarded 87 master degrees at its Commencement ceremony, including 35 in the Master of Business Administration program.