Kutztown University Fall Commencement Slated for Dec. 16

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KUTZTOWN, PA (12/04/2017) Nearly 500 students will be awarded degrees during Kutztown University's fall commencement on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 9 a.m. in O'Pake Fieldhouse. Dr. Kenneth Hawkinson, university president, and Dr. Anne Zayaitz, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, will preside.

Speaking at the ceremony will be two graduating seniors and one faculty member. Kamall Hassan will serve as the graduate speaker and Amandamae Baettcher will be the undergraduate speaker. Dr. Heather Leah Ryerson Fountain, professor of art education, will be the faculty speaker.

Hassan, of Millerstown, Pa., will graduate with a Master of Arts degree in English. He graduated from KU in 2012 with a Bachelor of Science degree in education, concentrating in English with a minor in professional writing. Hassan has been a language arts teacher with West Perry Middle School, Elliottsburg, Pa., since 2013.

Hassan is a member of Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society and the Pennsylvania Council of Teachers of English and Language Arts.

Hassan volunteers with the Pfoutz Valley Methodist Church, the Pennsylvania Farm Show, Special Olympics and serves as a tutor in his community.

Baettcher, of Columbia, N.J., will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in anthropology with a minor in sociology. She has completed her degree in only five semesters. She is a member of the Honors Program and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

While at KU, Baettcher was a student researcher with the KU Archaeology Field School, served as an assistant resident director and as a tour guide for Residence Life and Housing. She was a student representative on the University Curriculum Committee, a writer with HerCampus Kutztown and a co-advisor for the Honors Hall Council.

Baettcher is a member of the National Residence Hall Honorary, the Anthropology Club and assisted with planning Kutztown's annual Bearfest.

She plans to attend graduate school to continue her studies in anthropology.

Fountain is a professor of art education and crafts at KU, where she has served as the undergraduate art education program coordinator since 2009. She teaches graduate and undergraduate art education students, as well as elementary education majors about the power of art to reach and teach all students.

Fountain has been recognized many times for her exemplary teaching, most recently by the National Art Education Association (NAEA) as the 2016 National Higher Education Art Educator of the Year. In 2015, The Pennsylvania Art Education Association (PAEA) recognized her as the Outstanding Higher Education Art Educator and in 2014 she was honored with Kutztown University John P. Schellenberg Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Fountain has also been recognized for her work with children and adults with disabilities, including the creation of a unique course titled Designing for Disabilities, which calls on art education students to engage in disability awareness through interaction with a design partner who has a disability. In 2012 she was awarded the PAEA Outstanding Special Needs Art Educator Award and in 2013 was honored to receive the NAEA Council for Exceptional Children, VSA Peter J. Geisser Special Needs Art Educator Award.