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Congressman Womack to Speak to 611 Graduates

Congressman Steve Womack, featured speaker at 2013 Northark Commencement ExercisesCongressman Steve Womack will be the speaker Saturday, May 11th, for North Arkansas College’s commencement exercises.  The ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. in Pioneer Pavilion on Northark’s South Campus.  
Womack is a native of Russellville, Arkansas. After attending K-10 in Moberly, Missouri, Womack’s family returned to Arkansas in 1973, where he graduated from Russellville High School (1975) and Arkansas Tech University (1979). Womack earned a Bachelor’s degree from Tech and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the Arkansas Army National Guard.
In the fall of 1979, Steve relocated to Rogers where he and his father established KURM Radio, and he served as station manager from 1979-1990. In August of 1990, Steve accepted an assignment with the University of Arkansas Army ROTC program and served as Executive Officer of the program for six years. In 1996, Steve was hired as a financial consultant with Merrill Lynch.

On November 3, 1998, Steve was elected Mayor of Rogers and served in that capacity for twelve years. During his tenure, the City of Rogers experienced exponential economic growth, adding $1 billion in new development with major improvements to the city’s infrastructure, retail services, and quality of life amenities.

Steve also served on numerous boards and commissions in Northwest Arkansas serving as Chairman of the Northwest Regional Planning Commission, Chairman of Rogers United Way, board member of the Rogers-Lowell Chamber of Commerce, and the Rogers Parks Commission. A former Rotarian, Steve is also a Paul Harris Fellow.

In the Army National Guard, Steve served in a variety of command and staff assignments, including command of 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry, 39th Separate Infantry Brigade. Following the tragic events of 9-11, Steve's battalion was mobilized for duty with the Multi-National Force and Observers (MFO), Sinai, Egypt in 2002. It marked the first time in the history of the 39th Brigade that a battalion was deployed overseas. It was also the first time in MFO history the US Battalion mission was conducted by a pure National Guard unit. Steve’s task force received praise from the highest levels of civil and military leadership around the world and is credited with convincing Army leadership of the capabilities and readiness of the Army Guard.

Steve retired from the military in 2009 after 30 years of service. His decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Meritorious Service Medal with oak leaf cluster, the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, and the Global War on Terror Expeditionary and Service Medals, and the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medals. Steve was inducted into the Arkansas Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame in 2011.

In November 2010, Steve was elected by the voters of Arkansas’s Third Congressional District to the United States House of Representatives.  He defeated seven opponents for the Republican nomination and won the general election over his democratic opponent by 72%-28%, the second largest margin among freshmen representatives nationwide.  He was re-elected in November 2012 with 75.9% of the vote.  In the House, Steve serves on the Appropriations Committee and the Defense, Financial Services, and Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittees. Steve is also on the Whip Team, House Energy Action Team (HEAT), and various caucuses.

Steve has been married to his wife, Terri, for 28 years, and they have three grown sons and one grandson, Liam.

The college will award 760 degrees, certificates, or certificates of proficiency to 611 graduates this year.  One hundred and forty students are graduating with honors, and 56 have a perfect 4.0 grade point average.  Of the 760 degrees, certificates, and certificates of proficiency to be awarded, 269 were completed during the fall semester of 2012, 93 are scheduled for completion this summer, and 398 will be awarded this spring.  The 611 graduates will receive 93 associate of arts degrees, 13 associate of science degrees, 24 associate of general studies, 182 associate of applied science degrees, 239 certificates, and 209 certificates of proficiency.

The student welcome for the commencement will be provided by Rebekah Lehman of Lead Hill, AR, the daughter of Bea Lehman and Will Lehman.  Rebekah is a member of Phi Beta Lambda (PBL), and was awarded 3rd in the nation for a free enterprise project her team presented at the National PBL Conference in San Antonio, Texas.  Rebekah is also a member of Kappa Beta Delta, a business honors club.  Rebecca is graduating with honors and is receiving her associate of applied science in accounting.

Clara Slape, the daughter of Tim and Gayle Slape of Compton, Arkansas, will offer the invocation.  She will be receiving an associate of applied science degree in nursing.
Ashley Pace, the wife of Cameron Pace of Harrison, Arkansas, will give the benediction. Ashley will receive an associate of arts degree.

The “Star Spangled Banner” and “Breakaway” will be performed by Annelise Whitsell, daughter of Tony and Christi Whitsell of Eros, Arkansas.  Annelise will be receiving an associate of applied science degree in nursing and an associate of arts degree.

Grand Marshals will be Northark instructors Lana Fowler and Cheryl Keymer.

Commencement awards will be presented by Matt Miller, chair of the Board of Trustees of North Arkansas College.  Degrees and certificates will be awarded by Northark President Dr. Jackie Elliott.