News and Events


Admiral to Speak at Clarke's 171st Commencement

Betsy Niemyer

April 10, 2014: Clarke University is pleased to announce Rear Admiral Elizabeth “Betsy” Niemyer will address the graduates at the university’s 171th Commencement on Saturday, May 10, on the Clarke campus. Niemyer will also receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at the ceremony.

Niemyer recently retired from the Navy as a rear admiral after 32 years of service. She is currently chief program officer for United Healthcare, Military and Veterans, responsible for administrative oversight of a $21 billion TRICARE-Western Region managed care support contract covering 2.9 million beneficiaries in 21 states.

“We are honored to have Admiral Niemyer address our graduates at this year’s commencement ceremony,” said Clarke President Joanne Burrows, SC, Ph.D. “A decorated naval officer and accomplished health professional, Admiral Niemyer has made a significant impact on the lives of so many women and men who have been injured in service to our country. She is a leader who exemplifies the kind of vision, commitment and compassion we expect to see in our graduates.  I look forward to the message she will share with us.”

Niemyer finished her military career as the 23rd director of the Navy Nurse Corps and Deputy Chief, Wounded, Ill and Injured. As the director of the Navy Nurse Corps, she was responsible for coordinating all major nursing policies for 6,000 active, reserve and civilian nurses world-wide. In her role as deputy chief, Wounded, Ill and Injured she oversaw a $300 million budget spanning 100 Navy programs focused on post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological health and traumatic brain injury.

Her military decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal (two awards), Legion of Merit Medal (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (two awards), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and National Defense Service Medal (two awards).

Niemyer currently serves on the Board of Advisors for the Warrior Canine Connection founded to expand the availability of a therapeutic service dog-training program to Department of Defense and Veterans Administration medical treatment facilities throughout the country.

This year’s Commencement exercises begin with a baccalaureate liturgy at 10 a.m. in Clarke’s Robert and Ruth Kehl Center, at which graduates will receive their academic hoods. The Commencement ceremony begins at 2 p.m. Graduates will receive their diplomas and special awards will be bestowed at Commencement. Degrees will be conferred upon both undergraduate and graduate students.

Clarke University is honored by the presence of Archbishop Michael Jackels at the Commencement ceremony.
To accommodate additional guests, the liturgy and ceremony will be simulcast on televisions in Jansen Music Hall in the Wahlert Atrium on the campus of Clarke University. Clarke will stream the liturgy and Commencement ceremony via Clarke’s website for off-campus viewing.

For more information, contact the Clarke University Marketing and Communication Office at (563)588-6318.


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