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Waubonsee Community College’s May 14 commencement ceremonies saw a record number of graduates walk across the stage.

Record Number Participate in Waubonsee Commencement

View 2016 Commencement Videos

Waubonsee alum and Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman speaks to a record crowd at commencement ceremonies on May 14.

View 2016 Commencement Videos

Waubonsee Community College’s commencement ceremonies this year saw a record number of graduates walk across the stage.

The ceremonies – held at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on May 14 – moved back to campus this year to accommodate the college’s growing number of graduates who choose to participate. They took place in the Field House, which opened in March 2015.

A total of 352 graduates participated in the ceremonies, and the college awarded a total of 1,083 degrees, bringing Waubonsee to a total of 22,192 degrees conferred since their first commencement in 1968.

Waubonsee President Dr. Christine Sobek said that after two years of holding commencement at the Paramount in Aurora, it was exciting to welcome graduates and their supporters back to the Sugar Grove campus.

“And this is a momentous occasion because today marks the first time we host these ceremonies in our new Field House,” she said.

Anna Dutton, of Oswego, was among the graduates, and was selected to be the student speaker.

She said that while she came to Waubonsee “reluctantly” on a scholarship after being unable to attend her "dream school," she quickly changed her perspective.

“Little did I know two years ago that I won the lottery when I chose Waubonsee,” she said. “I can say that because of the relationships I gained here, the experiences, and the clarity I now hold for my future. Here I am a name, not a number.”

Dutton shared stories of faculty who had gone above and beyond to challenge her in their classrooms and to share their passions. She added that she admired her many classmates who had faced challenges that made her own look “microscopic.”

Waubonsee alum and new Aurora Police Chief Kristen Ziman delivered the commencement address.

Ziman told the graduates stories of her humbling beginning days as a new police officer.

“Adapting is good but altering your identity to fit in is not,” she said, sharing a story of the day she learned that being herself would make her better and more effective at her job.

She also encouraged those in the room to never miss an opportunity to further their education, explaining that her constant pursuit of professional development and additional degrees helped her portfolio stand out from those of her peers.

“I caught that thirst for knowledge here,” she said of her time at Waubonsee.

Ziman also shared the story of a commanding officer who told her she’d make a terrible lieutenant. She used his criticism as fuel while she studied for the test – for which she earned the top score.

“If you use criticism as fuel, you will never run out of energy,” she said.

Ziman encouraged graduates to always assess the worst case scenario when considering a new opportunity, and decide whether or not they are willing to accept that. “Without courage, you’ll stay in your comfort zone,” she said.


View Waubonsee Community College 2016 Commencement Videos:

May 14, 2016 — 10 a.m.

May 14, 2016 — 2 p.m.