Turning the page from one chapter of their lives to the next, the Moraine Park Technical College Class of 2007 said goodbye to classrooms and hello to careers on Saturday, May 19, at the Fond du Lac High School Field House.
“Making opportunities happen” was the class motto adopted by the graduates from Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend campuses. Among the newest Moraine Park alumni, 452 received associate degrees, 485 received technical diplomas and 113 received program certificates.
Moraine Park President Gayle Hytrek presided over the College’s commencement ceremony in which nearly 400 of the 1,050 graduate candidates participated. The degrees, diplomas and certificates were conferred by Moraine Park District Board chairperson Lisa Mader and vice chairperson Marty Mittelstadt.
“Our graduates are the fabric that supports Wisconsin,” said Hytrek, as she addressed those present. “They are the nurses that take care of you and your loved ones, they are the mechanics that repair our cars, and they are the technicians that repair and program our computers, our machinery and our air conditioners. They design computer programs in business offices and in manufacturing, architectural and engineering firms. They not only build our houses, they also install the electrical wiring and plumb our houses. They cook our food, fix our hair and nails, and keep our prisons orderly and safe. And our EMTs, surgical techs, respiratory techs and others help save lives every day. These are just a few examples of what our graduates do day in and day out.”
The Student Senate presidents from each of Moraine Park’s campuses addressed their fellow students and guests: Jasmine Duarte, Supervisory Management program, Beaver Dam campus; Laurie Schneider, Administrative Assistant program, Fond du Lac campus; and Stephanie Larson, Instructional Assistant program, West Bend campus.
“When I first started at Moraine Park, I told myself that this (going to college) is going to take forever; now that it has ended, I realize that I never want it to end,” said Duarte of Beaver Dam. “This has just been the start of what I know will be a lifetime of learning new things. I have met so many individuals who have changed my life and made me a better person for knowing them.”
“My experience at Moraine Park has been wonderful and rewarding,” said Schneider of Fond du Lac, who graduated with high honors. “When I first came here, my life had no direction. ... As a single mother of three, I knew my life had to change so I could support my children and become someone they could be proud of. I was determined to be a good role model and show them an education is priceless. Moraine Park provided me with many opportunities to demonstrate my skills, enhance my strengths and improve my weaknesses.”
The final student speaker, Larson of Slinger, who also served as a member of the Moraine Park District Student Government told her fellow students, “While being a student at Moraine Park, I was given many opportunities to get involved in activities on and outside campus. I joined the student senate where I learned to be an active team member and leader. I was able to build many friendships that gave me the drive to stay motivated and on track to reach my goal of graduating today. We all have goals in life. One of our goals is being achieved today. When we walk across the stage and receive our certificates, technical diplomas or associate degrees, we can all be proud in knowing that we achieved a major goal in life.”
M. Kathleen Murphy, RN, MSN, APRN-BC, was presented with Moraine Park’s 2007 Distinguished Alumnus Award by Dan Ensalaco, vice president of academics and economic development. Murphy is a 1985 graduate of the College’s Nursing program and the health services coordinator for the Milwaukee Public School System. “I am both grateful and humbled by this recognition, and believe that is due in large measure to the wonderful start I had as a nursing graduate of Moraine Park,” said Murphy. “The theme of making opportunities happen fits so well with the opportunities that opened up to me as a nurse and a graduate of this college.”
The graduation processional was led by bagpiper Gina Crossley, with the ceremonial music performed by Brassination, a brass quintet from the Fond du Lac area. Shady Grove, also from the Fond du Lac area, provided the pre-ceremonial music. A reception was held at the high school.