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Western CUNA Management School graduates 75
ONTARIO, Calif. (8/8/12)--The 51st Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) graduated 75 students on July 26 at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.

Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) high honors students with faculty members are, from left: WCMS President Jim Likens; David Stacey, America First CU, recipient of the Rick Craig Prize for Excellence in Project II; Josh Kroll, Park Side FCU James Nelson, Jordan FCU; Rachel Pross, Northwest Community CU; Erynne Hallock, Numerica CU; and WCMS Dean Michael Steinberger.
In addition to the 75 members of the graduating third-year Kappa class, 91 second-year Lambda students and 116 first-year Mu students attended the 2012 school session, held July 15-27.

"You attended WCMS during one of the worst recessions in U.S. history," Lee Alderman, class speaker and assistant vice president of training and financial literacy for Redwood CU, Santa Rosa,  Calif., told graduates. "You took every opportunity to encourage each other along the way. You have an over-the-top positive and enthusiastic spirit for everything you do."

Alderman also received the 2012 Charles M. Clark Memorial Award, presented each year to an outstanding member of the graduating class chosen by the class and faculty.

WCMS Dean Michael Steinberger announced academic honors. During a three-year period, students have five opportunities to earn academic honors. Honors and High Honors are awarded to the highest achievers on both the examinations taken at the end of each school year and the analysis of each of their two projects.

This year's Honors students were:

  • Lee Alderman, assistant vice president of training and financial literacy, Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif.;
  • Heather Plaizier, human resources business partner specialist, Mountain America CU, West Jordan, Utah;
  • Lori Hill, compensation and benefits manager, Travis CU, Vacaville, Calif.; and
  • Jeanne Pickens, vice president of marketing, Rogue FCU, Medford, Ore.
High Honors students were:

  • David Stacey, treasurer's office manager for America First CU, Ogden, Utah;
  • Josh Kroll, director of member service for Park Side FCU, Whitefish, Mont.;
  • James Nelson, branch manager for Jordan FCU, Sandy, Utah;
  • Rachel Pross, compliance-risk manager for Northwest Community CU, Springfield, Ore.; and
  • Erynne Hallock, assistant vice president of branch administration and sales for Numerica CU, Spokane Valley, Wash.
Honors students of the Western CUNA Management School pose with faculty members. From left: WCMS President Jim Likens; Lee Alderman, Redwood CU, and recipient of the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award; Heather Plaizier, Mountain America CU; Lori Hill, Travis CU; Jeanne Pickens, Rogue FCU; and WCMS Dean Michael Steinberger. (Photos provided by Western CUNA Management School)
According to its tradition of giving back to WCMS, the graduating class presented a fundraising check totaling more than $72,000 to WCMS President James Likens, plus another check for more than $10,000 from a school auction. Additional funds were donated to the Joseph Melchione Memorial Fund to honor late long-time WCMS faculty member and credit union attorney. This new fund was created by Melchione's partners at Styskal, Wiese & Melchione to provide perpetual WCMS scholarships to the school's program. The 50th graduating Iota Class of 2011 also presented $1,200 its members recently raised for the Melchione Memorial Fund.

This year's James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award--given to honor WCMS alumni for significant achievements in the credit union field since graduation from the school--went to Annette Zimmerman, president/CEO of PrimeWay FCU, Houston. A new award--the Rick Craig Prize for Excellence in Project II--went to David Stacey of America First CU, Riverdale, Utah.

America First CU President and CEO Rick Craig, who is retiring later this year, also was recognized for his dedication to WCMS as an instructor for 31 years.

Spokane Teachers FCU President/CEO and commencement speaker Tom Johnson offered words of encouragement to the graduating class. He talked about the benefits of attending WCMS, the important relationships formed, and how individuals become "united" from across the country.

Western CUNA Management School is operated with the cooperation and assistance of the credit union leagues and associations serving Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.


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