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News 1999

Mother of Two: Commencement Speaker

May 7, 1999

LaDonna Spragg, a Terre Haute wife and mother who is a graduating senior at Indiana State University, will give what is believed to be the first-ever student address at the 128th Spring Commencement May 8 in Hulman Center.

She was chosen through a competition process that involved seven finalists in a mock ceremony before a judging panel earlier this month. The idea originated with ISU President John W. Moore, who was familiar with the practice from his tenure at other campuses. In the brief address, Spragg will share her perspective of attending college as a non-traditional student and a parent.

"Her delivery and subject matter impressed the panel because she talked of the rewarding experiences she has had in the dual roles of student and parent," said Jan Arnett, special assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs and a member of the selection committee. "The speech should have special meaning for both students and their parents."

Spragg admits to being excited. "It will give me the chance to say 'thank you' to all the people who have helped me during my college career," she said. It has taken eight years for her to realize her dream of getting a degree.

The day will be extra-special because while Spragg will graduate magna cum laude with a bachelor of science degree in management information systems, daughter Danell will receive a B. S. degree in English teaching. In the audience will be a host of family members, relatives and friends from as far away as North Dakota. They include son Bryan, an ISU sophomore health education major, as well as her husband Ted, her mother and stepson Mark with his wife.

Learning to balance her time has been the hardest thing about such an undertaking, but Spragg has managed well.

With an overall grade point average of 3.94, she has been named to the School of Business Dean's List several times.

She is a member of the Management Information Systems Association, serving that group one year as secretary and another year as chair of the Activities Committee, at which time she helped to develop the organization's first speakers series. She also served as president of the Dean's Student Advisory Council and as the student representative on the School of Business Dean's Search Committee.

For Alpha Iota Mu, the honor society for management information students, she served as the Inception Committee chair for the Alpha chapter -- the first Alpha chapter of a student organization on the ISU campus -- and as president for the 1998-1999 school year. She is also a member of Golden Key and Beta Gamma Sigma, the AACSB Schools of Business Honorary Society and a recipient of a Sycamore Blue Ribbon Award.

During her eight years on campus, Spragg worked for ISU Dining Services and, most recently, in the analytical department office. She also received help from a number of scholarships, including the John E. Booth Scholarship, Junior Memorial Scholarship (1997-98 and 1998-99); the Outstanding New MIS Student Scholarship (1997-98); the MISA Scholarship (1997-98); the Charlotte S. Burford Memorial Scholarship (1997-98); and the School of Business Faculty Award (1998-99).

Spragg's determination has paid off, for she has succeeded in landing a job as program analyst for Caterpillar, Inc., in Peoria, Ill. She starts May 24; her family will join her later.