Speaking of Convenience...

Posted by cservaes on September 19, 2011 in "Academic Programs", Alumni Convenience means more than having that little store on the corner. According to Wikipedia, it’s “anything that is intended to save resources (time and energy) or frustration.” For Ottawa University– Wisconsin’s two spring commencement speakers, convenience was something that attracted them to OU, and it was something that helped offset the personal sacrifices they made in order to complete their higher education journey.[gallery] Dua Vang-Ramirez discussed sacrifice in her commencement address, “The OU Experience.” “Many sacrifices - less time with our families, smaller incomes, and little sleep - were made to support one goal…the attainment of a college degree,” she said. However, Vang-Ramirez made certain her fellow graduates knew that those sacrifices were not made in vain. “We all wanted to be open to possibilities: the possibility of financial freedom, the possibility of a new career and the possibility to offer our children the experiences that we never had.” Vang-Ramirez’s aspirations to advance her career and help others motivated her to return to school after a five-year absence. She had begun her educational career at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee in 2000, but after two years of attending full-time, her job only afforded her the time to attend part-time. Then, in 2005, her daughter suffered a spinal cord injury, causing Vang-Ramirez to leave school indefinitely to take care of her. After deciding to return to school in 2010, Vang-Ramirez began researching local colleges, and OU’s convenient course scheduling sparked her interest. “I decided to attend Ottawa University because it offered classes one time per week and each session was only eight weeks long,” she said. “This gave me the opportunity to focus on one or two classes at a time. My prior experience at another university was different; I was attending class several times per week, per course, and I had to take five courses at a time. It just was not convenient for my schedule.” Graduating Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in human services, Vang- Ramirez intends to use her degree to help bridge communication gaps in her community. “This degree is a symbol of our hard work, sacrifices, determination, and perseverance,” she said as she wrapped up her commencement address. “[We need to] take what we have learned at Ottawa University and directly apply it to our lives and to impact those around us.” The convenience of Ottawa University’s scheduling is also what sold fellow commencement speaker, Georgine Sanchez, (right) on attending OU. With no intention of returning to school anytime soon, she realized that in order to advance in her career, a college degree was a necessity. But working a full-time job and having a husband and daughter at home to care for made attending college seem unattainable. However, when Sanchez enrolled in October 2005, she knew she had made the right choice and was embarking on a journey wellworth the effort. In her commencement address, “Hopes and Dreams,” Sanchez’s personal desire for growth was evident. “We have a vision of something different for our futures. We wanted to be and do so much more… Whatever our reasons to begin, we had the courage to start, the tenacity to finish, and with our degrees, we are ready for the next step,” she said. Sanchez currently works as a lead project manager for the North American Sales Organization at Rockwell Automation. She wants to grow within the organization and hopes to eventually move into a leadership position. “Without my degree, I most likely would not be able to make it where I want to be. It would be hard to be considered for opportunities along the way,” she said. “I now have the tools in my pocket to get there. I have learned to have a voice, to have confidence and to be assertive in the right ways.” Sanchez is leaving Ottawa University with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, a Bachelor of Arts in Management, and a minor in accounting. Graduating Summa Cum Laude, she has accomplished her first goal, a “stepping stone” to the next phase of her career. “As Ottawa University graduates, I hope we all continue to Live, to Learn, and to Lead,” she continued, “and set a promising example of continued accomplishments for all those around us.”