Highlights 2017

WCMS HONORS ITS 2017 CLASS

Ninety students of the Western CUNA Management School's (WCMS) Omicron class of 2017 received their diplomas at a graduation ceremony held at Pomona College in Claremont, CA on July 20. The event marked the conclusion of the 58th annual session of WCMS.

During this year’s session, National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions President and CEO Cathie Mahon spoke about financial empowerment being good for mission and good for business at the Richard Myles Johnson Colloquium in Credit Union Philosophy on July 12. The graduates also had classes from credit union leaders including Bill Cheney, president and CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU and former president and CEO of the Credit Union National Association; Diana Dykstra, president and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and 1992 WCMS graduate; and Bill Hampel, CUNA chief economist and chief policy officer; as well as award-winning faculty from college and MBA institutions across southern California, including Claremont Graduate University, Pomona College, and UCLA.

WCMS 1998 graduate and Orange County’s Credit Union President and CEO Shruti Miyashiro received this year’s James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award for significant service in the credit union field since graduating from the school. In presenting the award to Miyashiro, WCMS Alumni Association’s Robert York said she lives the WCMS philosophy of “head and heart.” She has worked her way up the credit union career ladder starting as a teller in 1995 to her post now as CEO. Miyashiro expressed her appreciation for the award, and said she “was privileged to have fallen into the credit union movement.” The award, she added, makes her remember the good and noble efforts of credit unions to help members and communities.

Commencement speaker, Montana Credit Union Association President and CEO Tracie Kenyon, offered words of wisdom for the graduating class she termed as “keepers of the flame.” As such, she encouraged them to remain “vigilant in purpose to keep credit unions viable.” She also reiterated the credit union’s service mission.

This year, seven students who earned distinction graduated with “High Honors,” while an additional two students earned distinction and graduated with “Honors.” These distinctions were earned based on each student’s performance on the examinations taken by all students at the end of each school year and for their analysis in each of their two major research projects completed between sessions.

Students graduating with “High Honors” were: Vanessa Broemeling, Idaho; Alexander Carlston, Washington; Jared Dryer, Colorado; Jacob Phillips, Colorado; Jeremy Sankwich, Washington; Blake Thurman, Oregon; and Matt Wrye, California.

Students graduating with “Honors” were: David Hiatt, Idaho; and Courtney Higuchi, California.

Blake Thurman received the Rick Craig Prize for Excellence in Project II recognizing excellence in the second-year project, an endeavor that usually takes each student of the school more than 200 hours to complete.

In addition, every year the senior student who best represents high moral character, leadership, credit union dedication, and academic achievement is nominated by his or her class to receive the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award. This year’s recipient was a person his peers said truly embodied the spirit of WCMS philosophy and spirit—Jeff Morris of New Mexico.

The long-standing tradition of giving back to WCMS funds earned in the service-learning activities continued with this year’s graduating class presenting a check totaling $67,000, representing the total raised over the past three years in Omicron- and tri-class-led efforts.

Commencement speaker Kenyon sent forth the graduates with the charge, “It’s your mission to keep on top of the continuous changes in the credit union movement. ... You have to keep growing. ... Keep fired up.”

WCMS Dean and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Michael Steinberger further implored the graduates that now was their time to “pick up the responsibilities of leadership in the credit union movement in service to our members.”