Southwestern Michigan College Foundation President Dr. Carole Schmidt drew on “Wizard of Oz” wisdom to address the Outstanding Graduate Reception April 18 in the theatre of the Dale A. Lyons Building on SMC’s Dowagiac campus.
“Dorothy was swept away by a tornado and landed in the land of Oz,” Schmidt recalled. “Her friends were searching for things they didn’t think they had — the Lion for courage, the Scarecrow for intelligence and reasoning to make sense of the world, the Tin Man for a heart, afraid to cry because he thought he would rust. Dorothy took the leadership role to empower her friends to achieve their dreams and goals and to help them discover they had these desired qualities inside of them all the time. I challenge you to go forward with all of the gifts you have and demonstrate that kind of leadership in whatever you do. Finally, don’t forget about the relationships and heart that hold us all together.”
Schmidt, a retired school superintendent, interrupted her remarks to take a selfie with some students seated onstage. “When I was your age, we had rotary phones,” she noted.
President Dr. David Mathews embellished the familiar qualities of courage, heart, brains and leadership with a fifth value, teamwork. “I was struck over and over by all of the people working together to contribute to the success of these students,” Mathews said. “Graduates, it’s about your time to step forward and be part of that team for other people. We are counting on you and we are so proud of what you’ve done.”
SMC Foundation, founded in 1970, raises funds to provide students scholarships and other educational opportunities, such as the $1 million generated toward the new Nursing and Health Education Building dedicated in January.
SMC Select Voices, conducted by Director of Choral Activities David Carew, provided entertainment for the evening.
Rona Goodrich, 2018 fulltime faculty member of the year, and Melinda Wall, 2018 adjunct faculty member of the year, read honor graduates’ names and presented them with certificates and portfolios.
The 111 students graduating with honors at SMC’s 52nd Commencement May 4 were recognized for earning cumulative grade-point averages of 3.5 or higher:
Brylee Arndt, Rebekah Ashley, Lukas Baker, Aliea Bakerson, Audrey Bakerson, Luis Barcenas Perez, Melanie Becker, Amber Blauer, Tanner Bohan, Olivia Brewer, Kaley Brogan, Kori Bunch, Grace Burpee, Jennifer Bush, Jacob Clark, Candice Cleveland, Madeline Collins, Abigail Craft, Ryan Cronin, David Curl, Sydney Danis, Rita Dash, Hannah Davis, Colin DeYoung, Samantha Dhoore, Aimee Diaz, Emily Dockery, Sarah Dohm, Casey Dolfin, Andrew Dorfler, Jacquelyn Drewyor, Josiah Dubs, Barbara Duis, Cole Everman, Emily Fellows, Brandon Fisher and Lincoln Fleming.
Also: Maria Freed, Eric Fritz, Quinn Fuller, Jessica Garcia, Aydin Goens, Austin Green, Chloe Greenboam, Shelbey Guarino, Patrick Guntz, Shiann Hale-Henry, Ashley Harkless, Alec Harman, Jordan Harris, Timothy Hart, Joanne Hetrick-Roder, Jennifer Hinton, Ashley Hoadley, Brandon Hoyt, Hannah Jackowiak, Joseph Johnson, Anna Kahmark, Ashley Kapala, Tamara Kettlehut, Gregory Kugel, Bradley Kuhlman, Alexis Kwieran, Eli Lakin, Jeremy Lau, Jose Lopez, Rebecca Mahlmeister, Kourtney Mankowski, Madison Marsh, Ariel Martin, Kailee McCain, Courtney McGregor, Haley Metz and Jacob Mielke.
And: Meghan Miller, Jahcub Mullendore, Sarah Nelson, Willow Price, Rachel Raschke, Alyssa Reneberg, Kayla Rose, Lillian Rumley, Mallory Sager, Brittany Schesnuk, Hazel Seman, Ian Sharp, Samuel Shunkwiler, Jade Sibley, Angela Smith, Ivy Smith, Lauren Smith, Emmaline Sovine, Karisa Steffens, Michelle Stevens, Brittany Strauss, Constance Taylor, John Timmreck, Wendy Turner, Julia Tyson, Camille Van Dien, Lauren Vanderhoof, Joel Vernon, Felicia Villarreal, Jacob Walker, LeighAnn Walker, Alyssa Watts, Alexander Wheeler, Faith White, Star Whitmore, Lilian Wisner and Kathryn Woodward.
At the end of the ceremony, Vice President of Instruction Dr. David Fleming announced the 2019 faculty of the year finalists as David Carew, Barbara Karwacinski, Dave Spurlock, Christy Tidd, Hailey Sheets and Jim Benak. This year’s winners will be announced at April 26’s Employee Recognition Breakfast.