For Immediate Release
A Letter from the President’s Desk:
On May 11, 2018, Lake Land College celebrated its 50th spring commencement. In those five decades, more than 56,500 students have graduated from Lake Land College and moved on to brighter futures.
To put the college’s impact into perspective, one in four people living in the East Central Illinois Lake Land district is a Laker Alumnus. Our graduates are likely your neighbors, your community leaders and your trusted nurses, teachers and service technicians.
During this year’s celebration, we were fortunate to welcome back several Lake Land College Board of Trustees members who served throughout our history. Len Defend, Henry Merz, Carl Hart, Gary Kuhns and Kent Metzger joined Bob Johnston and Dr. Leland McNeil who served on the very first Lake Land College Board. In those early years, trustees established a unique higher educational opportunity that put the needs of students first. They never imagined Lake Land would grow from a small college holding its first commencement in 1968 at the First Baptist Church in Mattoon to a nationally-recognized college serving 20,000 students per year, celebrating 1,600 graduates each spring and hosting an expansive, beautiful 317-acre campus.
The Laker Nation Class of 1968 included many nurses, business majors and technical graduates. The Laker Nation Class of 2018 received degrees and certificates in more than 150 majors. It includes students who entered college immediately upon high school completion, those who returned to college after several years in the workplace and those who enrolled in college to train for a new career.
Kimberli Jones graduated from Mattoon High School in 2015 and found herself struggling when she first started college at Lake Land. Through determination and hard work, along with the help of Lake Land’s TRiO Student Support Services program, Kimberli found herself thriving. Not only did she earn her degree but she also received recognition as TRiO Student Support Services Student of the Year.
Charles Cox found himself at Lake Land College after his position was eliminated at GE. He hadn’t been in a classroom for 30 years, yet with determination and hard work he achieved his goal. He often slept in his car after working third shift before class and took advantage of tutoring services to help him through math courses. Like many of our graduates, he was hired in a new job before he even graduated.
Tina Hooper graduated from high school more than 30 years before she enrolled in college. She first completed a basic nurse assisting course and then went on to pursue an associate degree in Human Services. She discovered her true potential and will transfer to Eastern Illinois University this fall following graduation.
Tina, Charles and Kimberli are just a few of the many outstanding graduates who have worked hard to reach their goals. As college leaders we can only imagine the challenges many of our students have overcome and worked through to join us onstage during commencement.
We thank all who have been a part of our commencement celebration. As our anniversary festivities come to a close this summer, we look forward to another 50 years of serving you and our communities, and celebrating with our future graduates.
Dr. Josh Bullock
Lake Land College President