Lakeland grad shares financial knowledge with students
Setting aside enough money to sustain one's lifestyle for six to nine months should precede any attempt at investing, said financial planning expert Bonita Graff during a guest lecture appearance at Lakeland College on Monday morning.
"The first mistake some people make is putting everything they have at risk," said Graff, a founding partner at Provident Financial Consultants in Oshkosh and successful personal wealth planner for almost three decades. "After you set that money aside, the next thing you should do is participate in your employer's 401k. And third, participate in a Roth IRA."
Those were just a few of the investment nuggets offered by Graff, who graduated from Lakeland in 1984 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and accounting. She spoke on Monday to about 20 Intermediate Accounting II students.
Graff provided an overview of several different investment vehicles with the students, and she told them more about her role as an investment advisor.
"I can tell you that you will receive the best education at this school," Graff told the class. "Lakeland College is the reason I am who I am."
Graff is a certified public accountant (CPA), a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA), an investment advisor representative and a general securities registered representative who works with individual as well as business clients in all facets of financial planning.
"As financial advisors, we're responsible for helping you through life to retirement, from getting the kids educated to making sure things will be OK if you die," she said. "We have a mantra at our firm, which is that I always work for my clients. Everything we do is based on your best interests. If we follow that, how can we go wrong?"
Graff handed out copies of a pamphlet titled "Investing Essentials" and a one-sheet 20-year "snapshot" of investing ups and downs to the students. She discussed the differences between stocks and bonds, calling the latter the "ballast in your portfolio; they're boring but important." And she called mutual funds "the optimal tool for most investors."
When she was finished with her hour-long guest lecture, Graff received an enthusiastic ovation from the class.
"It's always great when successful Lakeland alumni come back and share their expertise and experiences with our current students," said Brett Killion, Lakeland assistant professor of accounting, whose class Graff visited. "We try to bring the real world into the classroom as often as we can, and Bonnie did a fantastic job relating our textbook material to the students' lives."
Lakeland "comes through" for Peace Walk
The Rev. Frederick Trost stepped up to the pulpit, looked out at the nearly 200 people gathered in the Immanuel United Church of Christ, and smiled.
"Fantasic!" he exclaimed. "Lakeland College comes through! And it means a great deal to us."
Half-an-hour earlier, that large throng of people had left campus on foot for Monday's Lakeland College Peace Walk. Members of Lakeland's family and friends from the community braved the cold and came together to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The plan was for this special walk to be candle-lit, but a brisk, sharp wind blew out all but a few people's hand-held flames. Undaunted, the hardy souls marched on, through the teeth of the cold breeze toward the church nearly half-a-mile away.
After the group gathered at Immanuel UCC, Rev. Trost, who marched with Dr. King in the early 1960s in Chicago, spoke passionately about the greatness of King and the important role today's young people play in making this world a better place.
Of King, Trost said: "He was one of the greatest human beings of our lifetime — of many lifetimes."
"Dr. King's dream must not fade."
As he wrapped up his passionate talk, Trost said, "I'm breathless. And I'm glad I'm breathless."
The Rev. Rob Sizemore, Lakeland's chaplain, followed Trost to the pulpit and expressed his pride in the large turnout for Monday's Peace Walk and in the way Lakeland and the UCC embrace and celebrate diversity. Sizemore challenged all Lakeland family members to be kind and to greet all people on campus with "an extravagant welcome."
Then everyone sang the civil rights movement anthem, "We shall overcome," before bundling up and marching back to campus together. There, everyone enjoyed hot chocolate, coffee, cookies and camaraderie.
"It was really wonderful to see this many people gather for such a great reason," said Whitney Diedrich, the primary organizer of the event. "We are very happy that our students cared so much that they came together and made it such a special evening. It was also special to see so many faculty and staff involved. It was really cool to see everyone mingling. Walking back from the church, I overheard people talking about how much they enjoyed it."
All-Star Band Concert Set for January 25
Lakeland College band director Chris Werner will be working with band directors of Eastern Valley Conference-member schools to put together an all-star concert in the Little Chute area on Jaunary 25.
With a total of 400 students, the group will gather in the morning for a day of rehearsing prior to the evening performance. The middle school honors groups will perform their concert at 3 p.m. in the Little Chute Fieldhouse, followed by the high school honors concert at 4:30 p.m. Werner is directing the high school honors band. Both concerts are free and open to the public.
The Easter Valley Conference Honors Band performance will be comprised of students from Berlin, Clintonville, Fox Valley Lutheran, Freedom, Little Chute, Omro, Ripon, Waupaca, Winneconne, and Xavier.
"It's a great opportunity to get the students playing together," Werner said. "It is an 'all-star' type of experience in that they are coming together, the best of the best, in a short time to put on a concert. A group of 400 students who haven't played a note together will assemble a full concert program with about eight hours of rehearsal time. That's pretty cool!"
Students contribute to Project Angel Hugs
They stopped by the craft table between classes, or during their lunch hour. Sometimes these Lakeland College students came in groups; sometimes they sat down and worked alone. They cut, glued, crafted and wrote heartfelt messages of hope and love.
And when the one-day Lakeland College Valentine’s Day card-crafting campaign came to an end, there were 104 beautiful, unique handmade cards ready for delivery to the Plymouth, Wis. headquarters of Project Angel Hugs, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the emotional support of children with cancer. Project Angel Hugs will mail the Lakeland cards to cancer-stricken children all over the nation.
“Our students always go above and beyond,” said Sally Bork, Lakeland College’s interim director of student activities. “Project Angel Hugs is a local organization that’s doing great things, and we’re very proud of our students for being so enthusiastic about helping.”
Senior Art Exhibit Opens January 24
Lakeland College will spotlight the work of two senior art students when the first of two Lakeland Senior Art Student Portfolio Exhibitions opens on Friday, Jan. 24.
Tyler Holman, of Sheboygan, and Jinsu Ryu, of Tokyo, Japan, will discuss their work during an opening reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Bradley Gallery, located in the Bradley Fine Arts Building on Lakeland's campus.
The exhibit, which will feature works created by these students during their time at Lakeland, will run through Feb. 24. The Bradley Gallery is open from 8 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Friday, when the college is in session. Attendance at the reception and admittance to the Bradley Gallery are both free and open to the public.
The senior art show is a requirement for all Lakeland art majors. Students gain the experience of having their own exhibit, and are responsible for advertising (creating a poster), mounting the exhibition, speaking at the opening reception and removing all of their work when the exhibit is over. This gives the students a real life experience as a professional artist, which will be very useful after they graduate and continue to exhibit their artwork.
Holman is working towards a bachelor's degree in art with a studio art and graphic art emphasis. He has various art-related work experiences including internships and substitute instructor positions where he has selected and directed student driven designs and instructed his peers.
Holman is also the recipient of several art related awards, a second-place award for his pastel drawing in the Lakeland College Annual Competitive Student Art Exhibition, and a medal in computer illustration from the Eastern Wisconsin Conference Art Show, to name a couple. He is extremely self-driven and has a very unique style.
"There's a structure to the process I use when creating art," Holman said. "It's not painstaking or torturous. That would be silly. Instead, the structure is simple, and makes the event of creation rewarding, desirable and quite addicting. The structure consists of layers that describe who I am, the ideas I have, the field I'm pursuing and the message I wish to convey through art."