UMSL Fall Commencement speakers will include (from left) Suresh Kumar, U.S. Department of Commerce; Cynthia Prost, Arts and Education Council; and Jerry Dunn, Children's Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis at UMSL.

Nearly 600 graduates of the University Missouri–St. Louis will receive a coveted college diploma this holiday season.

Three commencement ceremonies will be held Dec. 17 in the Mark Twain Athletic & Fitness Center on the university’s North Campus.

Graduates from the College of Education, College of Nursing, College of Fine Arts and Communication, School of Social Work, Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies and the Masters in Public Policy Administration will receive their diplomas at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Cynthia Prost, president of the Arts and Education Council and a longtime arts professional in St. Louis, will speak to the graduates at the 10 a.m. ceremony.

Prost was executive director of Cultural Festivals, which created the Saint Louis Art Fair, the St. Louis Jazz and Heritage Festival and The Big Read, an annual book festival. In 2007 Prost received a Grand Center Visionary Arts Award as Outstanding Arts Professional and in 2006 the YWCA Leadership Award for Nonprofit Management.

Graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences will receive their diplomas at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Jerry Dunn, executive director of Children’s Advocacy Services of Greater St. Louis and associate clinical professor of psychology at UMSL will be the featured speaker.

Dunn oversees the nationally accredited Child Advocacy Center on UMSL’s campus, which coordinates the multidisciplinary response to child abuse in the St. Louis region. More than 500 forensic interviews for child abuse investigations and more than 5,000 counseling sessions for survivors are conducted annually at the center.

Suresh Kumar, assistant secretary for trade promotion and director general of the U.S. and Foreign Commercial Service at the U.S. Department of Commerce, will address the graduates at the 6 p.m. ceremony. They will receive degrees from the College of Business Administration, University of Missouri–St. Louis/Washington University Joint Engineering Program and Missouri University Science and Technology-Engineering Education Center.

Kumar oversees the USFCS, the trade promotion arm of the federal government. It supports and provides customized solutions to U.S. businesses so that they can compete in the global marketplace. Prior to joining the Obama administration, Kumar spent more than 30 years as an international businessman, consultant, coach and professor of management education. He has served as a consultant to leading institutions and corporations including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the African Development Bank and the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.

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Maureen Zegel

Maureen Zegel

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens
Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.

Eye on UMSL: Tending the gardens

Biology student James Ott and Sustainable Energy & Environmental Coordinator Katy Mike Smaistrla pull weeds last week in the native gardens north of the Recreation Wellness Center.