News from the Aurora University community

More than 1,400 Aurora University students graduating May 4 during commencement ceremonies

Posted by on May 1, 2014

More than 1,400 Aurora University students will participate in the 121st annual commencement ceremonies on Sunday, May 4, on the central campus quadrangle.

The ceremony for graduate students will be held at 10 a.m., followed by the undergraduate ceremony at 2 p.m. A total of 1,295 students will be graduating on the Aurora campus; another 147 students will participate in the commencement ceremony at the George Williams College of Aurora University campus in Wisconsin on Saturday, May 3.

At the AU afternoon undergraduate ceremony, Kayle Rieger, an art major and recipient of the Spartan Award, will offer her reflections to the 2014 graduating class. Voted on by faculty, the prestigious award is the top annual student honor.

Rieger has been extensively involved in the AU community through her work with the AU Activities Programming Board and the Leadership Education and Development program. She also has been an outstanding student in the museum studies program and was chosen for a leadership role in the Unraveling Revelations: Decoding the Prophetic Charts, an exhibit that received state-wide recognition from the Illinois Association of Museums.

“Receiving the Spartan Award means that not only did my professors have an immense influence on my time at AU, but that I had a positive impact on them as well,” said Rieger. “That’s very important to me. I always want to leave a positive impact on the people with whom I interact. Being nominated by my instructors for this award tells me that I am being that positive change I want to see in the world.”

During the afternoon ceremony, the university also will present honorary Doctor of Human Letters degrees to Douglas R. Oberhelman and Charie Zanck. For nearly four decades, Oberhelman has influenced the direction of the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. As chairman and chief executive officer of Caterpillar Inc., he is known the world over for his forward-thinking and energetic leadership. His belief in continuous learning also has earned him recognition as an unwavering advocate for improving the country’s school system. His passion for quality education has led to several collaborations between Aurora University and Caterpillar, most currently demonstrated by the construction of the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School on campus.

Zanck is a visionary and has dedicated herself to what matters—her community. Her tireless devotion to Woodstock, Illinois, a city in which she has resided her entire life, serves as an outstanding example of citizenship. Zanck’s efforts include connecting organizations with like-minded values to one another, such as the partnership between Aurora University and the Challenger Learning Center for Science & Technology, of which she serves as president. Zanck invited Aurora University to share space in the center so that community members would have a central location to pursue higher education. As a result, professionals from the McHenry County area have advanced their careers with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, education, nursing and communication earned through Woodstock Center programs.

Both the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies will be streamed online at The university is located at 347 S. Gladstone Ave. in Aurora.


Aurora University is an inclusive community dedicated to the transformative power of learning, annually educating more than 4,900 degree-seeking students at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. The university has a long tradition of preparing students for lives of service and leadership, and using its resources and expertise to meet the needs of the community. In addition to its main campus in Aurora, Ill., AU offers programs online, at its George Williams College campus in Williams Bay, Wis., and at the Woodstock Center in downtown Woodstock, Ill. Learn more at


Media Contact

Deborah Maue
University Communications