Celebrating the Many Gifts of 2013

As we begin a brand new year, I can’t help but think of the many gifts of 2013 that were celebrated in December.  First was the gift of mid-year commencement where we celebrated over 400 students who completed their degrees and diplomas at this time.  Holding commencement at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center just before the holidays is always a very festive and joyful occasion.  It was great to see so many of our faculty and staff there to salute our graduates.  And our guest speakers were just terrific—Julia Garvey and Alan Zierler.

Also in December, we celebrated our 30th year milestone of the FVTC “Adopt-a-Family Program.”  So what does that mean?  Over the course of three decades, our staff have adopted at least 12 families of our own students in need and provided them with food, gifts, and good cheer in celebration of the Christmas season.  Thanks to the generosity and enthusiasm of our staff, over 360 families have benefitted from this annual endeavor.  I recall personally leading this effort many years ago, doing some of the shopping, wrapping, and delivering of gifts…an experience I will certainly never forget.

Late in the month of December we held a special holiday dinner where our guests of honor included the individuals, families, and businesses that made significant contributions to the FVTC Foundation in 2013.  Major sponsors of the Foundation Golf Outing in 2013 were acknowledged:  Community First Credit Union, Miron Construction, Silver Star Brands, and Robert W. Baird & Company.  With their wonderful support, along with many others, the golf outing netted $108,000 in scholarships for students.  We also acknowledged the tremendous new partnership with Service Motor Company and shared our deep gratitude for their contribution of $1.1 million toward the continued development of our agriculture programs.  Finally, we celebrated the fact that 11 newly endowed scholarships were established in 2013.  These gifts involve commitments of at least $10,000 that will allow scholarships to be provided to students annually in perpetuity.  A special thank you to the following individuals, families, and companies for providing these legacy gifts:

  • Kathy Drews, established a scholarship in memory of her daughter, Stephanie
  • Reinhart Food Service
  • Merlin Gentz, retired Academic Vice President, and his wife Beverly
  • Nancy Wittrock, retired Business Technology and Accounting Assistant Instructor, and her husband Marv
  • Jan Case, Special Needs Instructor
  • Shannon Ladd, Dean of the Health Division
  • Wolfgang Wallschlaeger, Lifeline Counselor
  • Trudie Luebke, retired Enrollment Services Specialist, and her husband Emory
  • Kathi Seifert, community leader
  • Leigh Ann Mrotek-Gorzek, daughter of former Nursing Instructor, Joanne Mrotek, along with her husband Mark
  • Susan and Tim May, established a scholarship in memory of Susan’s father, Arlen Schmitt

Each of these gifts will mean a great deal to the students who receive scholarships for many years to come.

Thanks for allowing me to reflect on some of our recent gifts and the generosity of so many wonderful people.  Thanks also for following my blog in 2013 and I look forward to sharing more thoughts and perspectives with you in this new year!

View photos of commencement ceremony:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152075727774267.1073741831.43283069266&type=1

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