More than 200 Northwest Technical College students celebrated the completion of their certificates, diplomas and degrees at the college’s annual Commencement ceremony.
NTC’s 205-member Class of 2019 included:
- 54 associate of science degree recipients;
- 47 associate of applied science degree recipients;
- 59 diploma recipients; and
- 45 certificate recipients.
68 of the college’s 205 graduating students graduated with honors, reserved for students with cumulative grade-point averages of 3.50 or higher.
Tim Lutz, superintendent of Bemidji Area Schools, delivered NTC’s 2019 commencement address in which he emphasized the current demand for technical education.
“Research has indicated that almost seventy-seven percent of industry employers today are unable to find skilled employees,” he said. “The shortage is very severe. You are in demand.”
He continued with an anecdote of his father, an electrician by trade, saying that as he set out on the path of education, his father remained his main contact for any projects that required a technical eye.
“The way I see it, this world is full of people like me who need what all of you have to offer,” he said.
Lutz concluded his remarks by sharing a few key words of advice for the graduates as they go forward into the working world.
“Stand out from the crowd, stop competing and start excelling, no one has to lose for you to win,” he said. “Remember that each day you have exactly the same minutes and hours as Aristotle, Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King. Don’t confuse time with money, money with success or success with happiness.
NTC President Faith C. Hensrud
NTC President Faith C. Hensrud opened her remarks by thanking the family, friends and mentors in attendance for supporting each student on their road to graduation.
She went on to congratulate the graduates and highlight the individual paths that brought them to the commencement celebration.
“There are hundreds of graduates in attendance this evening, and each of you comes from a unique place with a unique story,” she said. “No two of you have followed the same path to reach this moment. And yet, this evening, each of our stories meet. We are in the same place at the same time, taking this next step together.”
Hensrud concluded her remarks by sharing her pride in their accomplishments and hopes for their futures.
“With the certificates, diplomas and degrees you have earned as graduates of Northwest Technical College to support you, each of you will follow your own paths toward your own futures,” she said. “Graduates, I have every confidence that your path will lead you to success. I know you will be pleased when you realize what you can achieve — for yourselves, for your families, for the communities where you choose to live.”
NTC student Speaker: Sadie Fraley
Sadie Fraley, a graduating young child education student from Northome, Minn., congratulated her fellow graduates on completing their degrees and compared their time in college to the first days of preschool.
“Preschool is full of surprises and by the end of the day, you don’t want to leave. Well, this the same feeling a lot of us have about college,” she said. “We were unsure coming into college, embarking on a new journey. But now many of us have created new friendships, gained life skills and hands-on experience that will benefit our future.”
Fraley looked forward to the future with confidence and encouraged graduates to persevere through all their new experiences to come, despite their fears.
“Today is a new journey. We may relive our first days of preschool again, but I promise you that you will make it through,” she said. “I am beyond certain we are going to rock our next adventure with our degree in hand.”
Minnesota State Trustee George Soule
George Soule, a trustee of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system, congratulated graduates on behalf of the Board of Trustees, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra and the system’s 16,000 faculty and staff members at its 54 campuses.
Soule joined the graduates in thanking the parents, mentors, professors and role models who helped each student along their journey. He also encouraged the students to give back to NTC and to strive for greatness in life.
“Carry the mission of the college with you everywhere you go,” he said. “Take advantage of your opportunities. Rise to the top of your field of work, give back to your communities, do great things, make a mark and create a legacy.”
Northwest Technical College, located in northern Minnesota’s lake district, is an open, inviting technological learning organization. For more than 40 years, the college has valued life-long learning and the worth and dignity of all people. The college serves 900 students with a high-quality education, an open-enrollment policy and affordable tuition. NTC offers nearly 60 degree, diploma and certificate programs in areas such as business, health, human and protective services and environmental and industrial technology. Classes are offered on the Bemidji campus, online, or as a combination of both. NTC is a member of the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities.