Madison College Class of 2024 Encouraged To Carry forward Spirit of Learning and Exploration


Hundreds of Madison College graduates showed their spirit and told their stories at the May 10 Spring Commencement ceremony.

Madison College Spring 2024 speakers at podium
Madison College Class of 2024 Spring Graduation speakers Monica Caldwell and Leslie Jump said with perserverance and support from family and friends they were able to graduate.

With each diploma handed out  an achiever stepped up to receive the honor for their work: first-generation, returning students, parents who juggled families and coursework, and those who came from across the globe.

More than 750 graduates walked in Friday night’s ceremony at the Alliant Energy Center. Friends and families filled the coliseum to near capacity cheering on graduates and holding up congratulatory signs.

It’s a big job to speak about the Class of 2024, so not just one but two students, took on the task. Monica Caldwell and Leslie Jump tagged teamed it as they shared their stories. As first-generation Latinx immigrants, they were pushed into another sphere when the pandemic hit, trying to navigate a new culture and learning environment.

Jump, originally from Peru, has a bachelor's degree in business administration and a diploma in addiction studies. She earned her Human Services Associate degree from Madison College and has recently started working in Dane County as a bilingual social service specialist.

“Our journey to this state has been filled with challenges, resilience, and unwavering determination,” Jump shared with her fellow graduates.

Caldwell, originally from Cali, Columbia, credited the Fast Forward Grant from Dane County collaboration between Madison College and Centro Hispano to keep her on the graduation path to earning her Human Service associate. She is currently working as a Certified Peer Specialist Trainer Lead and Career Support Specialist at Centro Hispano of Dane County.

“It was that moment to become part of the virtual world and continue our dream, keeping our noses to the grindstone,” Caldwell said. “With our perseverance and support of our family and friends who patiently understood that each weekend was to do homework and not party, we stand before you today as a testament to the strength and power of the human spirit that si se puede-yes we can!

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2024 Madison College graduate takes a selfie with Wolfie
A 2024 Madison College graduates takes a selfie with Wolfie.

Both speakers were encouraged by loud cheers.

“The experiences we’ve shared and the knowledge we’ve gained have not only enriched us but also prepared us for all the challenges that lie ahead,” Jump told the crowd. “As we step into the future, let’s carry forward the spirit of learning and exploration. Let’s continue to grow, evolve, and make a positive impact on the world. Remember, this is not the end, but rather the beginning of a new chapter. Congratulations to the Class of 2024, and here’s to the exciting journey that awaits us!”

There were many stories to acknowledge at Friday’s night commencement.

When Max Richard crossed the stage to get his diploma, father Ryan, and grandfather Guy, clapped and cheered, celebrating the third generation of the family to graduate from Madison College’s Diesel program. Guy’s heart was sticking out with the pride and love for his grandson. Ryan says it’s an honor to be the first three generations to graduate from the program.

“It’s a proud moment to see your kid graduate, especially in the same trade as you. It’s a neat distinction of being the first,” Ryan said.

After graduation, Max is excited to join the family business, Guy’s Truck & Service, that his grandfather started 47 years ago. He’s just one of the skilled graduates bringing their talents and industry expertise to the workforce.

“I hope to share my skills, and when a situation comes up, I can put my skills to the test, and hopefully, everyone will be impressed,” Max said.

President Dr. Jack Daniels, set to retire this December, said the past 22 Madison College graduations were his favorite moments.

“This has been an excellent ride for you and me,” Daniels said. “We both came here with dreams of what might be possible, and we’ll both leave here with lasting friendships, expanded knowledge, and knowing that we are part of something far greater than ourselves.”

He urged the Class of 2024 grads to move forward to the possibilities.

“Each of you has a unique journey that brought you here tonight. That journey is shaped and will continue to be shaped by your beliefs, life experiences, and lifelong learning opportunities that you take advantage of.”

Watch the 2024 Madison College Spring Graduation.

President Dr. Daniels speaking at spring 2024 graduation ceremony
President Jack Daniels said presiding over the 22 graduations has been his best time at the college.