The future is looking bright. Across two ceremonies, Southeast graduated the next generation of teachers, entrepreneurs, and healthcare professionals on Saturday, May 11. Join us in welcoming 1,378 new members to SEMO's Alumni Association.


Commencement is always a special day,” said SEMO President Dr. Carlos Vargas. “We are proud to celebrate our students’ many years of hard work and accomplishment with them and their families and to help them begin the next chapter of their bright futures.”

Commencement by the Numbers

  • Total Degrees for Spring & Summer Graduates: 1,378
    • Undergraduate: 964
    • Master’s: 393
    • Specialist: 21
  • Graduating with Honors: 476
    • Summa Cum Laude: 134
    • Magna Cum Laude: 134
    • Cum Laude: 208
    • Jane Stephens Honors Program: 19
  • Graduating with 4.0 Cumulative GPA
    • Undergraduate: 52
    • Master’s & Specialist: 120

About the Speakers

A portrait of Dr. Timothy JuddDr. Timothy M. Judd is a biologist and educator serving as the chair and professor in the Department of Biology at Southeast Missouri State University. His academic background includes a Bachelor of Science in biology from Cornell University, a Master of Science in biology from Oakland University, and a Ph.D. in zoology from Colorado State University.

Judd's research primarily focuses on insect behavior and nutritional ecology, with a particular interest in termites and wasps. He has written numerous peer-reviewed articles on topics such as nutrient acquisition, caste determination, and foraging behavior in social insects. Judd has also presented his research at conferences and institutions globally.

In addition to his research, Judd is involved in teaching a variety of courses at SEMO, covering subjects such as animal biology, entomology, and invertebrate biology.

Outside of teaching and research, Judd contributes to program development and pedagogical initiatives at SEMO. He has played a role in the redesign of the geographic information science major and has led workshops on educational technology and course development.

Judd's professional affiliations include membership in organizations such as the Animal Behavior Society and the Entomological Society of America. His research has received funding from sources such as the National Science Foundation.

A portrait of Dr. Melissa OdegardDr. Melissa Odegard holds a Doctor of Philosophy in counselor education and counseling with an emphasis in clinical mental health counseling from Idaho State University. She is currently a professor at Southeast Missouri State University and chair of the Department of Psychology and Counseling.

Dr. Odegard is a licensed professional counselor in Missouri and has served a variety of clients at Gibson Center for Behavioral Change in Cape Girardeau. Many of the concerns she's addressed are diverse and include but are not limited to: depression, anxiety, substance use, LGBTQ concerns, grief and loss, and telehealth.

Her professional research and publications highlight the need for counselor educators, supervisors, and professional counselors to incorporate advocacy principles into their work. Dr. Odegard also incorporates alternative creative modalities such as hypnosis, expressive arts, and popular culture interventions. Her previous experiences involved working with both urban and rural populations within a clinical context. Odegard also serves as an expert panelist for the Mothers, Infants, and Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) Show-Me ECHO (Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes) through the Missouri Telehealth Network.  

Dr. Odegard has been published in journals such as the Journal of Counselor Preparation and Supervision, The Psychologist-Manager Journal, and the Journal of Education and Culture Studies.

For more information on SEMO’s spring commencement or to view the livestreams of the ceremonies, visit

See the photos