Weidler Receives 'Highest Honors'
Nearly 90 students from the “Mu” Class proudly received their Western CUNA Management School (WCMS) diplomas last Thursday night at Pomona College in Claremont, CA, where a lively audience cheered another successful send-off of credit union leaders who are devoted to keeping the credit union philosophy alive.
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Matt Weidler—political liaison and asset analyst for Evangelical Christian CU in Brea, CA—became the sixth person in WCMS history to graduate with “highest honors.” He graduated with high honors on three examinations and each of his two projects during the three-year school period.
The 54th session of WCMS, held July 14-25, drew a packed audience of family, friends, and colleagues within the industry. Five students graduated with “high honors” and eight with “honors.”
“High honors” students included Christopher Curry of Hawaii; Sharee Dickey of Utah; Dohnia Dorman of New Mexico; Tina Estes of California; and Missy Key of Utah.
“Honors” students were Meagan Nattress of Utah; Ethan Bambock of Washington; Lynda Joy Mahoney of New Mexico; and Joy Deonna Grimes, Ryan Kane, Molly Roberts, Jennifer Krystal Trejo, and Teresa Ward—all from California.
Marci Gannon of Washington, who was also class speaker, received the Charles M. Clark Memorial Award. Described by her peers as “being enthusiastic, a great leader, and motivator,” Gannon was awarded for her high moral character, leadership, credit union dedication, and academic achievement.
WCMS 2003 graduate Jon Hernandez—CEO of CalCom FCU and Mattel FCU—received this year’s James D. Likens Alumni Recognition Award for his significant achievement in the credit union movement since graduating from the school. “I am humbled and honored to receive this award,” Hernandez said.
Christopher Curry won the Rick Craig Prize for Excellence in Project II, which recognizes excellence in a student's second-year project.
According to its time-honored tradition of giving back to WCMS, the graduating class presented WCMS President Jim Likens with fundraising checks totaling $117,796—$17,795 from a class auction event by the three classes and $100,001 raised over the past three years by the MU class, representing the largest class gift in WCMS history.
Rudy Hanley, who recently retired as CEO of SchoolsFirst FCU, served as commencement speaker. “We’re a movement not an industry,” he said. “An industry is about numbers and dollars. A movement is about people.”
Hanley challenged graduates to use their newly earned skills and knowledge to improve the quality of members’ lives. He believed all of them would be up to the challenge, he said.
“You all came to this position with something to offer. You are one of the bright stars of your credit union,” he said. “You have compassion and a diligent work ethic to make it through some very trying times. You have the right to be proud. You’ve learned what the bigger picture of credit unions is all about. You have inspired us.”