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Lakeland College awarded degrees to 793 graduates on Sunday at the college's 147th Commencement Exercise.
A total of 380 graduates participated in the ceremony in the Todd Wehr Center. Lakeland awarded 574 undergraduate degrees, 363 to students that attended classes through Lakeland's Kellett School of Adult Education and 211 to students from the college's full-time program at its main campus in Sheboygan County. Lakeland also awarded 219 graduate degrees.
On Saturday night, at Lakeland's graduation celebration, hosted by the Lakeland College Alumni Association, the college made two major award presentations.
Terry Miller of Sheboygan 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 course of earning their bachelor's degree.
Miller starting taking classes at Lakeland nine years ago, and he completed 92 of his 120 of his academic credits at Lakeland. He graduated Sunday with a bachelor's degree in business management.
Miller's parents had a dream of seeing all four of their children graduate from college, and Miller's graduation completed that dream. Miller relocated twice while taking class, he had three kidney surgeries, a rotator cuff repair and, most challenging, his mother died of cancer a few months before he completed his final coursework.
Kasey Gussert of Kingsford, Mich., 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.
A four-year member of the Dean's List, Gussert, who gained acceptance into Lakeland's honors program, graduated with a bachelor's in biochemistry and conducted research for Lakeland during her undergraduate time.
She was extensively involved at Lakeland, serving as an officer for Lakeland's pre-healthcare club, a member of the women's basketball team for four seasons, including two as captain, and an ambassador for Lakeland's admissions department. She will attending the University of Wisconsin pharmacy school this fall.
Susan Mboya, founder and president of Zawadi Africa Educational Fund and an executive with Coca-Cola Company, delivered Sunday's commencement address, which was recorded and will be aired nationally on CSPAN.
Mboya established the Zawadi Africa Education Fund (www.zawadiafrica.org) in 2002 to provide scholarships to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds from Africa to pursue higher education in the United States.
Two students have attended Lakeland College for the past two years through the program, and two more will attend Lakeland next year.
Susan Mboya's work is a living tribute to her father, Tom Mboya, a former minister for justice and constitutional affairs in Kenya who was assassinated in 1969. Susan based her organization on the highly successful Kennedy-Mboya Africa Student Airlifts Program of the 1960s, pioneered by her father and President John F Kennedy.
Peter Shem Kamuyu attended Lakeland from 1959-61 through the Kennedy-Mboya Africa Student Airlifts Program.
Following her address, Mboya received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from Lakeland.
Terry Kohler, a well-known and respected business leader and longtime friend of the environment, received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in recognition of his lifetime of "committed service to country, community and the environment."
Kohler is president of Windway Capital Corp. He was associated with one of its subsidiaries, The Vollrath Co., for 27 years and served as chairman and CEO prior to a 1989 reorganization that formed Windway.
Lakeland is one of many community organizations that have been the beneficiaries of the philanthropy of Terry and his wife, Mary Stewart Kohler.
Prior to his successful business career, Kohler served in the U.S. Air Force, and he continues actively his flying in various aircraft including the Cessna Caravan.
Kohler received his master of science degree in industrial management from the Alfred P. Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). In addition to teaching computer programming classes at MIT, he was the first Business Executive in Residence at Lakeland College.
Kohler is an outdoor sports enthusiast. He has sailed and raced extensively for 60 years, and is also a past Commodore of the Lake Michigan Sail Racing Federation. He is a life member of Ducks Unlimited (DU) and the National Rifle Association (NRA), and has served on the Board of Directors of the Trout & Salmon Foundation for two decades.
Terry and Mary Kohler are actively involved with the International Crane Foundation and the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service. They recently received the 2009 Lindbergh Award for their lifelong dedication to environmental conservation, and the more recent use of their airplanes to help reintroduce trumpeter swans and whooping cranes in the United States.
The Kohlers have been involved for over a decade with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in the Trumpeter Swan Recovery Project, collecting and flying swan eggs back from Alaska.
Terry's father, Walter J. Kohler Jr., and grandfather, Walter J. Kohler, both served as Governor of Wisconsin, from 1951 to 1957 and 1929 to 1931 respectively, and he was a candidate for U.S. Senate and governor in Wisconsin.
Sunday got started with the baccalaureate service in the Bradley Fine Arts Building.
The baccalaureate preacher was Kelly J. Stone, the chaplain at Lakeland and an ordained United Church of Christ minister.
Stone joined the Lakeland community in the summer of 2006 and has sought new and creative ways to meet Lakeland's religious needs. Prior to Lakeland, she served two churches in Connecticut working with youth and young adults while completing her masters of divinity at Yale Divinity School.
A native of Northwestern Illinois, Stone received her bachelor of arts from Elmhurst College. She is an advisor for Lakeland's Habitat for Humanity chapter, and serves as a resource for numerous other organizations that are concerned with matters of faith, equality and diversity.
Photos from the event are available for viewing.