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'Keep moving in the direction of your dreams'

Graduation caps are adorned with special messages by Brianna House (left, “It’s a beautiful day to save lives") and Brook Manty (“I earned it, 2017”) at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. Both completed the Registered Nursing associate of science degree program. Tom Urbanski/For the Pine Journal1 / 3
Misty Siltanen takes a selfie with Stephanie Lee (right) and Aileen Line (background). All three earned associate degrees in the Business Program. Tom Urbanski/For the Pine Journal2 / 3
Cristal Lewis shakes hands with faculty member Dan Jones at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College's commencement. Lewis completed the Practical Nursing Diploma program. Tom Urbanski/For the Pine Journal3 / 3

When nearly 1,000 people assemble inside a gym on an evening during the month of May, it must be time for a graduation ceremony.

A full house of family and friends was present to celebrate the 183 college graduates on Thursday, May 18, in the Lester Jack Briggs Cultural Center Gymnasium at Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC). Held annually after spring semester, the college commencement ceremony highlights a successful conclusion to the academic year and celebrates the accomplishments of the members in the year's graduating class.

Student speakers were Registered Nursing Program graduate Sadie Cross, Business Program graduate Andrew Hjelle, and Registered Nursing Program graduate Tamara Montano.

"Our heart's timing isn't measured by hours or minutes. It's measured by joys, by challenges, by surprises, and by triumphs," said Cross in her commencement speech. "I am so grateful that all of my moments led me to Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College. I'm thankful to be a part of this institution that values the things I truly believe in, like collaboration, diversity, loving Mother Earth, learning from science, and helping one another be the best that we can be," continued Cross, before issuing a final challenge to her classmates. "This is your time to keep moving in the direction of your dreams. Remember to listen to that tick-tock in your heart, and do great things."

Don Liimatainen, an alumnus of FDLTCC from Esko who is a successful small business entrepreneur, provided the commencement address to the graduating students who were in line to receive an associate in arts, associate in fine arts, associate in science, associate in applied science degree, or a nursing diploma from the college.

Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degrees were presented to Dave Guckenberg and Bonnie Wallace, who have served and supported students and the operations at FDLTCC for many years, along with accomplishing many personal and professional highlights in their individual lives and careers.

The Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College Drum & Singers provided grand entry, honor and recessional songs. Opening pipe ceremony was conducted by faculty member Dan Jones, and staff member Josh Cleveland provided the invocation.

Larry Anderson, president FDLTCC, gave welcoming remarks and hosted the event, and Anna Fellegy, vice president of academic affairs, along with Russel Swagger, dean of student services, assisted President Anderson in conferring the degrees to the graduates. Staff member Paula Hagenah read the names of the graduates as they crossed the stage. Fran Wendorff and Kristin Peterson, two faculty members who retired this year were recognized and wrapped in Pendleton blankets, a tradition of the college.

A short reception was held in the college's student commons after the ceremony.