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Christine Downey-Schmidt, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, will be the commencement speaker at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 11 in the college gym.

Former Gov. Kathleen Sebelius appointed Downey-Schmidt in 2005 and was reappointed by Gov. Mark Parkinson in 2009. She currently serves as a member of the Board’s Academic Affairs Committee and has previously served as a member of the CEO Assessment and Fiscal Affairs Committees. She served as the Board’s chair from 2007-2008, and as vice chair from 2006-2007. A former Kansas State Senator, Downey-Schmidt was elected to three four-year terms, serving from 1992 to 2004. As a State Senator, she served as the Ranking Minority Member of the Ways and Means, Education, and Agriculture committees.
Downey-Schmidt serves on the Boards of Directors for the Dyck Arboretum of the Plains in Hesston. She serves as the Co-Chair of the Education System Coordinating. In addition, she is a member of the Kansas Institute of Peace and Conflict Resolution in North Newton and the American Association of University Women. She has served as a member of the Kansas Educational Leadership Commission and the Kansas Arts Commission
Downey-Schmidt attended Wichita State University where she earned a B.A. in Elementary Education and a M.S. in Education Administration and Supervision. She enjoyed a 20-year teaching career that ranged from the pre-school to college levels. She and her husband, Gordon, have four married children and eight grandchildren. She enjoys traveling, gardening, reading, and being a grandparent.
Over 400 students are expected to walk the stage this May, the largest in the history of the college.