Lakeland University Blog

Outstanding Undergrad Student lives a life of service

Outstanding Undergrad Student lives a life of service


Outstanding Undergrad Student lives a life of service

Keith Melvin has a distinguished 30-plus-year record of serving others … and he’s just getting started.

Despite working as a paramedic for three decades, Melvin is the epitome of a lifelong learner as he constantly strives to improve his skill set. He is set to graduate this August from Lakeland University with a bachelor’s degree in organizational management from LU’s Central Wisconsin Center in Wisconsin Rapids.

For his dedication, hard work, motivation and sense of community, he is the inaugural winner of Lakeland’s Outstanding Kellett Undergraduate Student Award.

Nominees must be junior standing or above, earn a minimum of a 3.0 GPA and at least 24 credits at Lakeland and have:

  • Demonstrated outstanding character, motivation and discipline;
  • Overcome or persevered through difficult or unusual circumstances to pursue their education;
  • Made a positive contribution in the classroom and community through leadership and/or service.

Melvin positively impacts his chosen profession in numerous ways. He is a teacher in Mid-State Technical College’s emergency medical services degree program and was named 2020 EMS Educator of the Year by the Wisconsin EMS Association for his commitment to students and emergency services.

He is the EMS chief for a coalition of seven volunteer fire departments on the southside of Marshfield, Wis., and he serves as president of the North Central Fire Rescue Association, a group that creates and delivers training, public education and community outreach.

He is a member of a state subcommittee of the National Association of EMS Educators, which has led to membership on committees to write and rewrite technical college curriculum for EMT emergency responder and community paramedic programs.

Melvin got his start working as a paramedic and firefighter in the Chicago area at a time when certifications were all that we needed for training. After moving to Wisconsin and learning that his lack of formal education was preventing him from moving into leadership roles, he earned an associate degree from Mid-State which paved the way for his bachelor’s degree at Lakeland thanks to the strong partnership between the two institutions.

“I cannot tell you how valuable that (Mid-State) experience was,” Melvin said. “Mid-State and Lakeland worked together seamlessly. Lakeland has been such a blessing for me. Being a Muskie rocks!”

Amy Pearce, director of Lakeland’s Central Wisconsin Center, said Melvin’s many contributions in the region are well known.

“He always strives to go out his way to help and recognize his students,” Pearce said. “His leadership and passion for EMS has helped grow the program and develop the curriculum. He never misses an opportunity to say hello to anyone passing by him in the hallway or checking in with students on his way out the door.”

Along with his passion for his profession, Melvin is a proud father. He and his wife have six children – two grown and four others age 13, 11, 10 and 5. His commitment to improving his education makes him a role model for his children.

“I try to set an example for my kids to be the best you can be,” he said. “You always strive to hit the top mark. I am typically on the couch plugging away on papers and my kids are doing the same thing working on their homework.”

One of his biggest life challenges was helping his wife and children when she was diagnosed with a brain tumor, which was successfully removed through surgery.

“That was life changing going through that struggle,” Melvin said. “We strive to have a cohesive family experience together.

“The key part of all of that has been Lakeland. The way the university is set up is so flexible for a family person, a career person, someone who is working full time to continue to get your education. Having the level of educators in the classroom at Lakeland and being able to learn from their knowledge, that’s been key.”

The learning will continue as Melvin plans to enroll in Lakeland’s master of science in leadership and organizational development program on the way to his goal of being a dean in the technical college system.

“I want to be that content expert and I strive to go out of my way to prepare,” Melvin said. “You should help the people you manage so everything you’ve worked on isn’t lost while striving to step into the shoes of the leader that’s above you. You want to be the person to step up and you keep moving everything forward. Lakeland is helping me achieve that next step dream.”

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