Record-breaking class highlights 2007 Commencement
Academics - posted on 5/7/2007
Lakeland College might be approaching its 150th anniversary, but there is still room for a little history now and then.
Lakeland celebrated its 145th Commencement on May 6 with 898 graduates earning diplomas, a record graduating class. A total of 416 students participated in Sunday's ceremony in the Todd Wehr Athletic Center, also a record.
The college awarded 737 bachelor's degrees and 161 graduate degrees. The class included 726 graduates from Lakeland's Kellett School of Adult Education and 172 graduates from the college's full-time program at its main campus in Sheboygan County.
The commencement address was delivered by Sue Ann Thompson, president and founder of Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation (WWHF) and the former First Lady of Wisconsin.
Thompson, a teacher with over 30 years in the classroom, had her life suddenly altered when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994. The experience forced her to educate herself about her disease and the health care system, and she found needs as a patient that were not being met. It led to the creation of the WWHF, which assists women in being more informed health care consumers and equips them to ask tough questions.
Thompson borrowed a quote from Ghandi - "Be the Change You Wish to See in the World" - as the framework for her message, as cancer forced her to live those words, she said, and she encouraged the graduates to embrace the same approach.
Ordinary people can make extraordinary differences, Thompson said, if they address problems with creativity and energy.
Thompson and former Lakeland Trustee Alice Senty both were presented honorary Lakeland degrees.
Senty, a Lakeland Trustee from 1994-2006, has lived in Sheboygan for over 50 years and was recognized for a lifetime of civic engagement and service to her community. She was escorted to the stage by her son, David, a major general in the U.S. Air Force, who was in full uniform.
Lakeland also honored James Crawford by naming him professor emeritus, the college's highest honor. Crawford is retiring this May after 30 years of serving as Lakeland's professor of theatre and speech. Since joining Lakeland's staff in 1977, there have been 82 productions of full-length plays, 74 of them directed by Crawford and 58 of them designed by Crawford. Over 2,300 students were part of Crawford's productions.
Lakeland President Stephen Gould lauded Crawford for creating an atmosphere where students were involved in a hands-on role from start to finish in all aspects of Lakeland's theatre program.
The day opened with the baccalaureate service, led by first-year campus chaplain Kelly Stone. The Rev. Joseph Jagodensky, a 1975 Lakeland graduate who is serving in pastoral care and director of communications at Alexian Village of Milwaukee, delivered the baccalaureate sermon. He recalled his own Lakeland experience and how it propelled him forward and made him less afraid to grow up. He told the graduates not to be afraid of success, don't look for easy resolutions and don't be content with "close enough."
The weekend got started Saturday night with the Graduation Celebration in the Younger Family Campus Center hosted by the Lakeland College Alumni Association. Lakeland announced the winners of two major Lakeland awards during the celebration.
Mark Mucha of Neenah was named the winner of the Robert W. Lope Award, which goes to the Kellett School graduate who has shown unusual persistence, dedication and commitment in the courses of earning their bachelor's degree.
Mucha received a bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing, the first person in the history of his family to earn a college degree. He started working for Sun Chemical and its predecessor organization when he was 18, and over 20 years later is a plant manager. He has encouraged a number of other people to also go back to college.
Jodie Liedke of Oakfield was named the winner of the Clarence H. Koehler Campus Senior Award, given annually to the graduate who best exemplifies the "Lakeland Spirit" through academic achievement, service to the college and fellow students and participation in college and student programs and activities.
Liedke, who graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's in writing, worked for Lakeland's admissions staff, student life, the communications department and served in a leadership role on the literary publication "Seems." She has held numerous student leadership roles during her time at Lakeland and will be attending graduate school at Wichita State University on a full-tuition scholarship to continue studying writing.
Click to view the 2007 graduation photo gallery
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