06:50 AM

Commencement: It’s not just about the graduates

It’s Winter Commencement Week--always a joyous and memorable, if a bit hectic, time for Bellevue University faculty and staff, board members, and of course, the hundreds of graduates and thousands of family members and well-wishers who attend.

Many graduates and family members will be attending an Open House reception Friday afternoon on the University campus, and approximately 450 winter graduates plan to participate in Saturday morning commencement exercises at Omaha Civic Auditorium—roughly 70% receiving bachelor’s degrees and 30% master’s.

Benjamin J. Brachle of Fremont, Nebraska, was selected to be Student Speaker. Among those in the audience Saturday will be Brachle’s wife, Emily, and their three young sons. After three years of study, Brachle completed work on his M.B.A. degree, with a concentration in Supply Chain Management, in August 2011.

He did not plan to attend commencement exercises but changed his mind for his wife and sons, especially Luke, age 5, their oldest. “I want him to see what I was doing all those times when I couldn’t play with him, and that all the hard work paid off,” said Brachle, who, after launching a successful business career, decided to become a teacher. 

Brachle cofounded the Distribution and Logistics Academy at Millard Horizon High School in west Omaha. He and another Horizon faculty member previously launched and taught in a similar program at Omaha Bryan High School, which, at the time, was one of the first high school-level logistics programs in the U.S. The title of Brachle’s speech:  “The Power of Perseverance.”

Saturday’s Commencement Speaker will be William V. Parker, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area and founded Global Engagement Solutions, LLC international management consulting firm after a 31-year Foreign Service Career with the U.S. Department of State.

Karen R. Mulder of Omaha, Senior Vice President of Enterprise Administrative Services at West Corporation, will receive the University’s Alumni Achievement Award. She earned a Master of Arts in Management from the University in 1993.