Happy Graduation Month Pioneers!
Here we are - my favorite time of the academic year when we celebrate spring, our graduates, many accomplishments, and new beginnings! In this 175th anniversary year of Carroll College/Carroll University, it is astounding to recount our history, to reflect on how far we have come, our struggles, successes, scares when we were at a low, and jubilation when we were at our best. Like all organizations, we’ve had our ups and downs in our 175 years of existence from fires, financial troubles, poor morale, and low enrollment to moments of celebration, academic growth, a vivacious campus, record enrollments and resilient leaders. And despite the highs and lows, we are still here today. As vibrant as ever, pulling through the trials of a pandemic. Our students have remained positive and focused through recent challenges, and our leadership has remained steadfast. We have come so far from those first graduating classes of only several students to today where we will celebrate our approximately 815 undergraduate and graduate students who will receive diplomas on May 7 and 8 during Commencement ceremonies.
As the first institution of higher learning in the state of Wisconsin, we should be so proud of where Carroll is today. And coming from someone who wasn’t given the choice to attend Carroll and has now been working here for more than 20 years, I remain extremely grateful for my alma mater’s resilience and success throughout the years. My mother chose Carroll for me and my four siblings when one of her three jobs was cleaning the house of a beloved professor, Dr. Thomas Williams. He advised my mother, Maria, to send all her children to this incredible college — and she did. Although my first choice was not Carroll, the sincere care, attention, and support from brilliant professors like Dr. Deirdre Keenan, Dr. David Simpson, Dr. Barb King, Dr. Joe Hemmer, Dr. Pete Settle, and Dr. Joe Dailey and amazing staff like Dean Kate Herrick, Patrick Peyer and Greg Ware kept me here.
As we look ahead to our 2021 Commencement celebration, let’s pause to reflect on the loving guidance of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and all others who have supported our graduates as we come to this special day and honor our newest alumni Pioneers with a hearty “Congratulations!” (And to all of the moms out there, “Happy Mother’s Day!”)
(Dolores Ocampo Brown '99, M.Ed. '10 is senior director of Alumni Engagement at Carroll.)