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Lamar University
News Release
Monday, August 01, 2011

Lamar to confer 1,189 degrees Aug. 13

LU alumna-ExxonMobil executive Anita Riddle as keynote speaker


BEAUMONT – Lamar University is scheduled to confer 1,189 degrees at summer commencement Saturday, Aug. 13, in the Montagne Center. Lamar alumna Anita Riddle, sourcing manager for procurement of ExxonMobil Global Services Company, will be the keynote speaker.


The ceremonies will begin at 9:30 a.m. for the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business and Engineering and at 1:30 p.m. for the Colleges of Education and Human Development and Fine Arts and Communication and the Center for General Studies. Graduates hail from four countries, 21 states outside Texas and 284 cities and towns in Texas.


Lamar is scheduled to award the 1,189 degrees to 1,187 graduation candidates  – eight for doctorates; 951 for master’s degrees, one of whom will earn dual degrees; 209 for bachelor’s degrees, one with dual degrees; and 21 for associate’s degrees. The candidates include 824 who will earn master’s degrees in education as part of Lamar’s academic partnership. As of Aug. 1, graduation participants numbered 184 in the first ceremony and 384 in the second.


President James Simmons will present Plummer Awards, recognizing the top academic graduates. Students graduating summa cum laude, magna cum laude and cum laude with bachelor’s and associate degrees will be recognized as they accept their diplomas. Steve Doblin, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will certify degree candidates.


Leading the academic processionals and recessionals will be Jeremy Shelton, associate professor of psychology and president of the Faculty Senate, for the morning program, and Quoc-Nam Tran, professor of computer science and vice president of the Faculty Senate, for the afternoon program. Paul Hemenway, professor of communication, and Victoria Price, professor of modern languages, will present the graduates in both ceremonies.


The Lamar University Band, conducted by Scott Deppe, director of bands, will perform the processionals, recessionals and musical preludes. Music instructors Debra Greschner and Angela Pickering will lead in singing  “The Star-Spangled Banner” and Lamar Alma Mater – Greschner at the morning and Pickering in the afternoon.


Keynote speaker Riddle is a two-time LU engineering graduate whose contributions to excellence at Lamar have accompanied her rise to become a top executive in the petrochemical industry. She earned a master of engineering management in 1993 and a doctor of engineering in chemical engineering in 1996. Riddle received a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from Cornell University along with a commission in the Army. After seven years of active duty in Germany and Colorado, specializing in ordnance, she began her civilian career at what was then the Mobil Beaumont Refinery.


She also met her husband, Steven Schmidt, in Beaumont, and the couple’s generosity has supported educational excellence at Lamar in areas from faculty enrichment to scholarships and support of the Society of Women Engineers. Their gift to Lamar’s “Investing in the Future” campaign created the Riddle and Schmidt Faculty Development Endowment in Chemical Engineering and the Riddle and Schmidt Faculty Development Endowment in Industrial Engineering. A member of Lamar’s Chemical Engineering Advisory Council, Riddle was honored by the Southeast Texas Business and Professional Women as a “Woman to Watch.”


During her 10 years in Beaumont, Riddle worked as a process engineer, environmental engineer, shift superintendent and as manager of the lubricants base stock manufacturing business. Riddle also served part time in the Army Reserve, with assignments as commander of the 644th Transportation Company and in the Alabama Army National Guard as commander of the 668th Ordnance Detachment, responsible for explosive ordnance disposal.


She also has held positions with ExxonMobil as supply and distribution manager for the U.S. midwest region and process department head at the Baton Rouge, La., refinery and now leads ExxonMobil’s Center of Excellence for Procurement Sourcing in Fairfax, Va.


Riddle grew up in Bisbee, Ariz., where teachers recognized her aptitude for math and, like her father, a geological engineer, encouraged her to pursue educational and career goals. In high school, she lettered in volleyball, basketball, track and tennis and served as student body president. Riddle attended Cornell on an ROTC scholarship and was captain of the women’s volleyball team.  A bilingual Latina, she enjoys skiing, volleyball and visiting national parks. She and her husband have two daughters, Sierra, 9, and Christine, 6.

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