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WITC holds 2012 commencement

More than 700 students earned associate degrees, technical diplomas and professional certificates as Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College recognized its well-educated graduates this spring. On May 11, the college held simultaneous commencement ceremonies for its Ashland, New Richmond, Rice Lake and Superior campuses.

WITC-New Richmond recognized one of its largest classes at approximately 250 graduates, 209 of whom participated in the ceremony, which was held at New Richmond High School.

"For all of us at WITC, graduation is the most exhilarating time of the year as we are able to celebrate the significant accomplishments of those students who are program completers," says WITC President Bob Meyer. "Not only have these hard-working students set a goal for themselves and reached that important professional milestone in their lives, but they are also commencing forward into a new and exciting life journey. To be part of that is enormously rewarding for all of us at WITC."

This year, WITC provided red, white and blue honor cords to honor those who are or have served in the military or National Guard to recognize their military service in addition to the academic achievement honor cords.

"We are proud to recognize and congratulate our graduates for successfully achieving the ultimate investment in their lives - a college education," Meyer says. "We are confident that these graduates are well prepared and will leverage their education to make significant contributions to their respective communities. We wish these new WITC alumni the very best as they pursue the exciting challenges and opportunities that lie ahead."

A recent WITC study showed that 91 percent of 2010-11 graduates were hired within just six months of graduating - 72 percent of those employed were able to start their career in an occupation related to their training. The average starting salary was $33,670 annually.

During the ceremony, Natalie Landgreen, college advancement advisor, announced that the committee chose Karen Pesik, River Falls, to receive the 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Ironically, as WITC's Early Childhood Education (ECE) program celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, Pesik is an ECE graduate, nominated by instructors Mary Williams-Greene and Vicki Harmon. Pesik graduated from WITC's Early Childhood Education program in 2000 with an associate degree. She was the first to graduate from the Uiversity of Wisconsin-River Falls Transition to Degree bachelor's degree program. She currently owns and directs Little Adventures in Prescott, and teaches 4K for the Prescott public schools.

Celebrating 100 years in 2012, WITC serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents of northwestern Wisconsin each year. With multiple campuses, WITC offers career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized business training and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment. WITC is a member of Wisconsin Technical College System, which is also recognizing its 100th anniversary. For more information, call 800-243-WITC or visit