Meet student commencement speaker, Lisa Lindert

Graduation speaker Lisa Lindert

For commencement student speaker Lisa Lindert and the 1,275 other Madison College soon-to-be graduates, the excitement is here.

Madison College’s in-person Fall 2022 commencement ceremony took place this past December 15 at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center. Of the 1,275 students graduating this December, approximately 250 of them walked in the graduation ceremony. 

Student commencement speaker Lisa Lindert, a returning adult student and mother of four kids (ages 15 to 23) will graduate with an associate degree from the paralegal program. She wants her kids to know it’s never too late to start something new.

“You can always reinvent yourself,” she says. “Where you start isn’t necessarily where the journey is going to go. I hope I’ve taught my kids they get to control their path, and there’s no set way it needs to look. At any time, they can choose something different.”

Prior to enrolling at Madison College, Lindert worked in various healthcare-related roles and recognized that to advance her career or take on a managerial role, it was going to require more schooling. “I had to make a choice – go back to school for a healthcare-related degree or try something completely different. I’ve always been interested in the law, and I felt like this was a field where I could have a more direct impact and be better able to contribute.” 

Once a student, her goal was to get involved and take advantage of as many opportunities as possible. “When my kids were in high school and now in college, I’ve encouraged them to get involved, join different groups and try new things. Now as a student myself, I wanted to do the same, and I also wanted to follow-through on what I’ve been telling them.”

She credits the encouragement of her instructors along with participation in the college’s student senate as something that strengthened her leadership skills, connected her with the college, and gave her lifelong friendships. “I feel like the college supported me every step of the way, from the first week of orientation to now,” she says. "All of my instructors believing in me was a catalyst for me gaining confidence in myself."

She also reflected on the unique experience of being in college the same time as her kids. “They saw me up at 1 am working on assignments and studying for tests, so it was easy to relate to what they were going through. I know they are very proud of me.” 

Then she joked, “I also know they might be a little bit annoyed that I got a perfect 4.0 too.”

Lindert told the Cap Times that going back to school was nerve-wracking, but she’s made it her mission to do more things that terrify her — including sharing her story in front of hundreds. 

“My story is not the only story at Madison College like this,” she said. “All of the students there have overcome things to get to where they are. I think that's what makes Madison College such a fantastic place to learn.” 

Learn more about the legal studies and paralegal program.