453 graduate from Mitchell TechPresident: School ranked as one of nation’s top 120 community colleges.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Addressing the family and supporters who filled the Corn Palace Friday, Mitchell Technical Institute President Greg Von Wald described the 453 graduates of the Class of 2012 as a “mixture of diversity and potential.”
To the grads, he said, “You walked in uncertain of your future, and you gradually gained skills, self-worth and confidence.”
Von Wald noted that, for the second time, the Aspen Institute College Excellence program has ranked Mitchell Technical Institute as one of the nation’s 120 best community col- leges, placing it in the top 10 percent of all colleges in the United States.
He wished the students farewell and good luck and urged graduates to continue seeking opportunities to learn.
Keynote speaker Dusty Johnson, chief of staff to Gov. Dennis Daugaard, joked with the grads and recalled seven years earlier when the early birth of his first son, Max, caused him to cancel his first commencement address. He jokingly waved a disposable diaper, noting that he came ready this time, for the imminent birth of a third child.
He urged graduates to realize their power “to do well and to do good,” and to understand that they have a choice — quoting Henry David Thoreau — not to live lives of “quiet desperation.”
“We all have an obligation to do the best we can to move society forward,” he said.
“Most of us won’t cure cancer or be elected president, but we can make our own corner of the world better.”
Johnson advised grads to apply themselves to their chosen fields of endeavor and to be of service to others.
He recalled his childhood in Fort Pierre when he and six siblings once faced a bleak Christmas. “Then this group of Masons piled out of a car with presents. There was nothing in it for them — just the desire to do good.”
Avoiding a life of quiet desperation, he said, begins with a choice to live life with compassion and determination.
“You are in a better position today to utilize that power than when you began the journey,” Johnson said.
Spirit of MTI Awards
Recipients of the 30th Annual Spirit of MTI awards were announced at Friday graduation ceremonies.
The award recognizes one student graduating from each of Mitchell Technical Institute’s programs who best embodies the spirit of MTI and who exemplifies his or her chosen occupation through study, hard work, reliability, contribution to the program and future potential. The award winners are listed below.
Accounting/Business Management, Karli Rye Agricultural
Technology, Elliott Cwach Architectural
Design & Building Construction, Seth Bietz
Automation Controls/SCADA, Edward Boehmer
Administrative Office Specialist, Jamie Couch
Culinary Academy of South Dakota, Trevor Piersol
Electrical Construction & Maintenance, Ronald Disbrow
Electrical Utilities & Substation Technology, Derreck Martin
Heating & Cooling Technology, Benjamin McFarland
Industrial Maintenance Technology, Pat Mines
Information Systems Technology, Donna Kiewel
Medical Assistant, Lindsey Brakke
Medical Laboratory Technology, Alyssa Ramsey
Medical Office Professional, Sarah Larson
Office Technology Specialist, Breanna Vanden Bos
Online Office Technology Specialist, Jennifer Von Eye
Power Line Construction and Maintenance, Cody Hansen
Power Sports Technology, Andrew Dale
Propane and Natural Gas Technologies, Keith Berg
Radiation Therapy, Betty Dutton
Radiologic Technology, Jenna Vavra
Satellite Communications, Nicholas Butts
Speech Language Pathology Assistant, Suzannah Kloucek
Utilities Technology, Laramie Baker
Telecommunications, Brian Peterson
Wind Turbine Technology, Evan Fuller