Last Saturday was a wonderful day. We had the opportunity to celebrate the graduation of about 700 students here at mid-year with the formal Commencement Ceremony downtown Appleton at the beautiful Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.
We enjoyed great comments from both a student and alumni speaker. They both had powerful stories to share about their lives and the impact our college has made on them. As we are starting to see, many of the region’s dislocated workers are now crossing our commencement stages.
I would share a related story, one that most of us probably hadn’t thought about. While talking recently with the OWLS (Older, Wiser Learners) student group, one gentleman shared that after 2-1/2 years he is now about to graduate and, as a dislocated worker, went on to say that it felt like he was losing his job again. He had come to know the people here, settled into the routine of college, and enjoyed his experience with us. Now, that was coming to an end. Since hearing that very enlightening feedback, we have worked to put some additional services in place to support our students’ transition back to the workplace.
Our student commencement speaker on Saturday was in that same place, and we too will miss having these individuals with us. Both of these students are examples of how special and important these transitions are, as are these formal celebrations of their accomplishments.