It was a chilly spring Saturday on the York College campus as 67 students graduated during the morning’s commencement ceremony. Held in the Campbell Student Activity Center, the seats and bleachers were filled with proud parents, excited family members, and eager graduates ready  to receive their degrees. ​Dr. Mike Armour, managing principal and founder of Strategic Leadership Development International, gave the commencement address. Dr. Armour has coached or mentored over 600 executives and trained thousands more, many in some of America’s largest corporations. In addition, his firm has subsidiary operations in Africa, where he trains senior government officials. Through his entire career, Dr. Armour has combined full-time or part-time ministry with whatever else he was pursuing. He has 57 years of pulpit experience. Dr. Armour is a retired Navy captain in the field of intelligence, with 35 years of active duty and reserve service. He holds degrees from five colleges and universities, including a Ph.D. from UCLA. The author of eleven books, he has been published in two dozen languages.

Dr. Armour's commencement speech was about two ideas: Pep talks and heroes. Armour recounted a memorable pep talk he received as a high school athlete, then applied that idea to the 'hero' of the parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45-46). In this parable, a merchant sells all he has to purchase the most valuable pearl. Armour told gradates the "pep" talk he wanted them to remember was the merchant's dedication to purpose, excellence and priorities. Armour encouraged students to find a way to lean into the areas of their lives where passion and compassion meet and to seek out lives of purpose and meaning. 


After Armour’s address, several awards and honors were presented.​

The Dale R. Larsen Teacher of Achievement Award is given annually to a full-time faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to York College. This year the award was presented to Dr. Terry Seufferlein, associate professor of Bible and the Tom N. Schultz Chair for Mission Studies. “He teaches with passion and is well-liked by our students,” said Provost Shane Mountjoy. “He is dedicated to the spiritual and relational development of students, investing in them through one-on-one relationships and working with students outside the classroom and on mission trips. Dr. Sefferlein is a strong supporter of York College who exudes a positive attitude. It is not uncommon to hear whistling coming from his office,” added Mountjoy. Dr. Seuffelein played a foundational role in the York College 2nd Chance Program at the Nebraska Correctional Center for Women and continues to be an advocate for the program.​

The Dean’s Award is given each year to a graduating senior based on scholarship, leadership and maturity. Students are nominated by faculty members and chosen by the Provost. The 2019 award went to Oklahoma City senior Mikala Wilson, who graduated cum laude with a degree in biology. “She consistently works to go beyond the basic requirements and seeks understanding on a deeper level,” said Mountjoy. “She is a competitive student, but in the true spirit of intellectual inquiry, she encourages her classmates to do better. Faculty appreciate Mikala’s dedication to learning and her spirit. She has grown tremendously as a person, being involved in Campus Ministries and serving as a Community Assistant in the Kiplinger Apartments. Although quiet and oftentimes overlooked, Mikala’s growth and maturation is an example of the transformation we strive for here at YC. She loves York College and consistently supports the institutional mission.”


The ceremony continued as graduates lined up to walk across the stage and receive their diplomas from President Eckman with a smile, a handshake, and frequently, a hug. Master’s, bachelor’s, and associate’s degrees were awarded during the ceremony and then were hooded by their escort with the hood that represented their field of study.

The York College Concert Choir, conducted by Dr. Clark Roush, closed out the ceremony by performing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and “Unclouded Day” before leading the audience in the singing of the York College Alma Mater.

​2019 Graduates

​Bachelor's Degree: Samantha Adami, Katie Bell**, Josh Bertey, Justus Bjelland, Isaiah Bond, Tre’ Bradley***, Nicholas Brown, Shania Brown, Patrick Burnett, Caleb Cardwell, Natalie Carrasco, Melody Coehoorn, Asa Coppinger***, Billy Damon, Mark Dean Jr., Ashley Dugan, Justin Dyer*, Deidre Freitas***, Kelly Fromm, Courtney Gibbs**, Ernest Green IV, Catherine Harrington, Ryan Harrison, Mason Held, Brennan Jarvis, Madison Kinney***, Bryce Kinsey*, Deborah Kurtzer***, Laura Leos, Jacob Lohrenz, Clay Lube**, Zach Marsh**, Justin McQuiddy, Conrad Morris, DeAndre Neroes, Dylan Odom, Matheus de Oliveira, Zane Pfau, Ashley Rendon, Alysia Rodriguez**, AJ Scheerer-Hamm, Gabrielle Siebenaler, Chris Smith, Colby Smith*, Lamar Smith, Adrianna Sotolongo, Kelcie Swink***, Connor Towle***, Travis Turner, Vincent Valentine, Alec Venegas*, DB Vidal, Erin Wallgren*, Ciara Williams, Cassidy Wilson, Mikala Wilson*.
*Cum Laude - GPA of 3.40 or higher
**Magna Cum Laude - GPA of 3.60 or higher
***Summa Cum Laude - GPA of 3.85 or higher
Master’s Degree—M.A. Organizational and Global Leadership (MOGL), M.A. Curriculum and Instruction (MCI):
Dewayne Barker (MOGL),Seth Bearden (MOGL), Jacqueline Esquivel (MCI), Christina Lemburg (MOGL), Heather McCulloch (MOGL), Anita Palmer (MCI), Barbara Shantz (MOGL), Christine Ulshoffer (MOGL).
Associate’s Degree: Jarvis de León, Zach Milliken, Carmen Zavala.