More than 400 students marched through Michigan Tech's Wood Gymnasium Saturday morning in an intimate mid-year commencement ceremony. A bittersweet moment for many as they begin a new chapter of their lives and close one of their favorites.
"It's definitely mixed feelings," said Bachelor of Science graduate, Auriel Van Der Laar. "I love the family and the community I have here. Especially the faculty that have been so supportive and helpful and developing as a professional."
A Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering, Rachel Barlock loved her time at Tech so much, she's staying two more years to get her Masters.
"I just felt like it was the right place to stay, and I was already interested in the research," said Barlock. "It was a great opportunity for me, and I decided that I do love Michigan Tech, so why not stay?"
That very mentality brought Korean immigrant turned CEO of Universal Remote Control Inc., Chang K. Park, great success after he graduated from Tech in 1973. He shared his wisdom as speaker at Saturday's ceremony and encouraged students to rely on each other in difficult times.
"No one is on island by himself or herself," said Park. "We are in this together."
Park came to the U.S. with $200 to his name as a teen. After graduating from Tech with a bachelor's in electrical engineering and engineering administration, he earned his MBA at Wharton. Much like today's graduates, Park was faced with finding work in a struggling workforce, but today he promised, the strong will survive.
"Don't give up," he advised. Perseverance is very important and use that occasion to develop wisdom as well as personality."
So no matter where their graduation takes them, whether it's the workforce, higher education or running a business like Mr. Park, Michigan Tech graduates span the country, and most of them are successful.