Commencement 2018: “Step forward into your lives yet to be”

Graduation is both an achievement and a stepping stone, a moment that Carolina Cuevas has worked toward since she came to America.


“I arrived at the age of 12 from Mexico, with a pocket full of dreams,” said Cuevas, the student speaker for the event. “One of those I accomplished today.” Cuevas, a self-designed major in nutritional studies and society, was among the 129 students who graduated from Mount Mary University on Saturday, Dec. 15. She said she often found herself “challenged to the core,” but has ultimately become the “strong and determined woman I always envisioned myself to be.

“We are the women the world needs,” she told the group of graduates, faculty, friends and supporters gathered in the Alumnae Dining Room.

Here is a look at the graduates by the numbers:

  • 19 summer graduates
  • 110 fall graduates
  • 44 of the fall graduates belonged to the master’s of occupational therapy program



Julie Tatlock, assistant professor of history, addressed the group on behalf of the faculty. She put their accomplishment into historical perspective, citing historic figures such as Winston Churchill and Martin Luther King, Jr.

She also lifted up the example of a role model beloved to the Mount Mary community. Maureen Leonard, professor of biology, who passed away this summer, lived “with commitment, passion and a desire to live life to the fullest,” Tatlock said.

She encouraged the students to follow these examples of living with conviction and a sense of hope.

“As you go out to make history, remember those who have gone on before you,” she said. “Remember their lessons as future generations will remember yours.” Tatlock, who currently serves as interim chair of the department of Justice, History and Sociology, received the 2018-19 Teaching Excellence Award for Mount Mary earlier in the semester.

Cathy Buck, president of the Mount Mary Board of Trustees and president of Froedtert Hospital, said that the transformation from student to graduate is “nothing short of a miracle, the result of a million graces.”

Buck said the support of parents, mentors, siblings, friends and Mount Mary brought graduates to this special point of remembering their achievements and moving ahead.

“Take the next steps proudly,” she said. “And commence into your lives yet to be.”

2018 Winter Commencement

Celebrating Family

Blake Bandur claps proudly as his mother, Madeline Kulpa, walks across the stage to receive her diploma.

2018 Winter Commencement

A Family Celebration

Mount Mary's Grace Scholars Advisor LaCrecia Thompson celebrates her master's degree in counseling with her family.

2018 Winter Commencement

Honoring Heritage

Linda Langen ‘10 wears meaningful items to graduation that reflect her Oneida heritage.

2018 Winter Commencement
2018 Winter Commencement
2018 Winter Commencement
2018 Winter Commencement

Light of Learning

During freshman year, students are gifted a lantern at the Investiture ceremony to symbolize the Light of Learning.

2018 Winter Commencement

Passing the Light

Graduates pass their lanterns to family and friends who've supported their journey during Friday's Light of Learning ceremony.

2018 Winter Commencement

Step Singing

Faculty gather near the steps of Notre Dame hall to sing songs of celebration for the new graduates.