KENOSHA — A Kenosha woman accepted her diploma Tuesday night, becoming the first student to graduate from Gateway Technical College’s Urban Farm advanced certificate program.
Diana Haglund was joined by about 340 fellow Gateway graduates at the ceremony held at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside Sports and Activity Center, 900 Wood Road, in Kenosha, that recognized those graduating from the 2013 spring and summer semesters.
“It’s really nice to see someone who grabs something like this and takes off with it,” said Gateway Urban Farm Director and horticulture instructor Kate Jerome about Haglund, the first person to receive a certificate from the program which started in the spring of 2012. Haglund also received two associates’ degrees in horticulture, according to Gateway spokesman Lee Colony.
The ceremony recognized 770 prospective students from the 2013 spring and summer semesters. The total number of students in this year’s class is lower than pervious years because Gateway held its inaugural December graduation ceremony in 2012, which recognized 527 students, according to Colony.
The 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Waukegan Fire Department firefighter and paramedic Nathan Skewes, of Yorkville, who graduated in 2006 from the college’s Fire Science program. Skewes has been recognized for his excellence by his employer and recently qualified for the world finals of the Firefighter Combat Challenge, in which contestants compete against one another in a physically demanding course that simulates on-the-job situations.
The night’s keynote address was delivered by Jean Moran, CEO of Label Makers, Inc., who is credited with introducing a number of programs designed to grow the company and empower employees, including continuing education and tuition reimbursement programs.
Earlier on Tuesday, a ceremony was held for the college’s high school graduation and HSED/GED completion.
A student from each county’s campus was awarded the Second Effort Award and a $250 Gateway scholarship. The recipients were Nick Greening from the Racine campus, Shenendoah Doran from the Kenosha campus and Darien Martinez from the Elkhorn campus.
Gateway graduation by the numbers
770 – Prospective graduates for spring and summer semesters
340 – Estimated graduates in attendance Tuesday
425 – Graduates recognized during last year’s inaugural December ceremony