May 19 was a momentous day for the nearly 350 graduates who participated in Moraine Park Technical College’s commencement ceremony, held at the Fond du Lac High School Field House. In all, the College had nearly 800 graduate candidates eligible to receive their associate of applied science degrees and technical diplomas.

Female in graduation gown smiling

Keynote speaker, John Torinus Jr., praised students for their impeccable timing, stating that the job market is heavily looking for skilled and educated workers. He also impressed on the graduates to never stop learning and challenged them to always keep moving forward.

“To be adaptable, you will need to keep on learning.  Your degree is a couple of steps toward first base, but there will be other bases to round, either at the same company or in a new career choice,” said Toriunus. “Learning is fun, it keeps us young in mind and at heart.  I thoroughly believe that the day you stop learning, is the day that you start hearing harp music from afar. For that reason, I never intend to retire.”

female graduate showing off cap

Joseph Jaeger, a nursing graduate and Moraine Park’s 2017-18 Student of the Year, was the featured student speaker at the event. He also encouraged graduates to keep learning, and through telling his own story, reminded everyone that it’s never too late to go after your dream career.

“We work too long and too hard in this world to be doing something we don’t find joy in.  Every day isn’t going to be great, but why not go to work with an honest smile on your face because you really don’t mind being there,” Jaeger said. “I have come to realize that if you want something bad enough, and are willing to dedicate the time and energy it takes, you really can accomplish anything.  I urge everyone to dig deep and stop ignoring the truths you know about yourself.  It’s never too late to find yourself.  It’s never too late to try something new.”

Dr. James Eden, vice president of Academic Affairs, presided over the presentation of candidates with the conferring of degrees and diplomas done by Moraine Park President Bonnie Baerwald. Dr. Kristen Finnel, dean of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Fred Rice, dean of Applied Technology and Trades, announced the graduate candidates. From the Moraine Park District Board, Chairperson Mike Staral, Employee Member Cindy Fields and Additional Member Cindy Laubenstein recognized the graduates.

graduate walking down the hallway

Staral, who welcomed the Class of 2018 and their guests to the ceremony, congratulated the graduates and their families on their accomplishments and encouraged them to keep moving forward.

“This ceremony is symbolic in many ways.  It does mark the fulfillment of your commitment to earn a credential.  It proves that the hard work, perseverance, and dedication has paid off. It does mean a lot to those who have supported you through this journey.  They’re proud of you, and today is a celebration for them as well,” said Staral. “This ceremony does not end your education.  Moving forward in your career means constant learning and growing.  Work hard, be open, and embrace this!  You’ll be surprised where it will take you!”

President Baerwald extended her congratulations to the graduates and extended her personal gratitude to the commencement speakers, Moraine Park District Board, Moraine Park faculty and the President’s Cabinet.

Moraine Park Technical College was established in 1912 and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. With campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac, and West Bend, the College offers more than 100 associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeships and certificates delivered in a variety of formats — classroom, online and blended. Training and technical assistance for businesses are also offered.

young girl trying on graduation cap

To learn more about Moraine Park, visit morainepark.edu.

To view more photos from the 2018 Commencement Ceremony, go to facebook.com/moraineparktech.

girl in graduation gown walking

Written by Kristina Haensgen
Public Relations & Events Specialist