Madison College graduates celebrate achievements in campus-wide ceremonies


Madison College celebrated student success stories in graduation ceremonies across its campuses and in the community this spring.

The Madison College School of Academic Advancement celebrated 435 graduates at its annual High School Completion Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, May 23, 2024, at the Mitby Theatre.

Dr. Leslie Petty, Dean, and Angela Fitzgerald-Ward, Associate Dean, School of Academic Advancement, kicked off the event and welcomed keynote speaker President Jack Daniels III.

A special honor went to 92-year-old graduate Sarah Wells, the oldest student to have received her HSED at Madison College.

92-year-old Sarah Wells celebrated earning her high school diploma.
Sarah Wells, 92, celebrates earning her high school diploma at Madison College.

The School of Academic Advancement provides returning adult students the opportunity to obtain a high school credential through GED/HSED, Compulsory Education, HEP, Spanish GED, and Spanish 5.09 programming options.

Dr. Leslie Petty encouraged graduates to emerge like butterflies, spread those wings, fly high, and accomplish all their dreams.

“Carry with you the lessons you have learned and the strength you have gained. Remember that success is not measured solely on your achievements and goals but also by the obstacles you have overcome along the way,” Dr. Petty said.

The School of Academic Advancement is proud to serve and be a part of the academic journey of all high school completion students and wish them the best in their future endeavors. Many graduates will continue with Madison College to meet their academic and career aspirations. 

See more SAA student success stories.

Black/African Graduation

Madison College partnered with African Associations of Madison (AAM) to honor and recognize Black/African Graduation on May 3. Graduates from local high schools, colleges, and universities were celebrated. 

“This wonderful experience honored African and African American students, who through unyielding determination, have successfully achieved their academic goals. It provided a space to celebrate them, their families, and our culture, and announce their presence in this world,” said Dr. Jimmy Cheffen, Madison College Community Impact Team member. The event honored African and African American heritage and culture with a Kente Ceremony with traditional stoles presented to graduates.

Nursing Pinning Ceremony at Reedsburg, Fort Atkinson and Watertown

Rounding out the graduation ceremonies was a Nursing Pinning Ceremony at the Madison College Reedsburg campus recognizing the Spring 2024 graduates of the Associate Degree Nursing (RN) program. Students completed sixty-six credits in the classroom, online, nursing skills lab, nursing simulation lab, and direct patient care in the clinical setting. The Fort Atkinson and Watertown campuses also honored nursing graduates for their success.

Madison College Law Enforcement Academy graduates at the May 10 ceremony.
Madison College Law Enforcement Academy graduates at the May 10 ceremony.


Law Enforcement Academy Graduation 

Twenty-five new Madison College Law Enforcement Officers graduates, starting careers with area law enforcement agencies, were celebrated at the May 10 Law Enforcement Academy graduation. Madison College Law Enforcement instructor Brian Schneider served as the guest speaker at the event and has been an instructor with the program for more than 24 years, beginning with the 75th Law Enforcement Academy. Provost Beth Giles and student Andrew Marquardt. HPS Associate Dean Lore Vang led the event, and instructor Greg Dixon led students in their swearing-in ceremony. 

NextGen Responders Graduation

The NextGen Responders Graduation on May 8 honored 42 high school students who completed the Emergency Medical Responder and/or the Fire Academy. Each graduate received a certificate of completion and a NextGen Madison College-Protective Services Challenge Coin.  

Portage High School Senior Emily Bulgrin spoke at the ceremony on the deep connection NextGen Academy students developed during the experience.

Graduates of the NextGen Academy.
May 2024 graduates of the NextGen Academy.


“As the saying goes, the emergency services aren’t just a profession, it is a family. I also hope that we will continue to celebrate each other’s successes as we grow and pursue these journeys that we are on,” Bulgrin said. “We are the NextGen Class of 2024. Congratulations and good luck to you all."

Fire and EMS chiefs from Madison, Sun Prairie, Fitch-Rona and Verona were on hand for the ceremony. Students interned at more than a dozen southcentral police, fire, and EMS departments in Madison and across southcentral Wisconsin.

More than 13 of the NextGen Academy graduates plan to continue their fire and EMS studies at Madison College.

A graduate at the Triunfadores Graduation Celebration.
A student poses with her family at the Triunfadores Graduation Celebration.

Triunfadores Graduation

A first this year was the Triunfadores Graduation open house on May 3 celebrating the amazing academic achievements of Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latine students. Graduates celebrated with family and friends at the open house at Madison College Goodman South campus with cake, food, and live music from a mariachi band.

All-City American Indian and Alaska Native Graduation Celebration 

The May 3 ceremony celebrated the hard work of students.

Madison College joined with the Madison Metropolitan School District and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Office of Tribal Relations, University of Wisconsin Idigenous Student Center, and the Wisconsin Alumni Association to host this celebration on the UW-Madison campus.