Illinois College will graduate its first cohort of students from the Master of Arts in Education program during the 2014 commencement exercise on Sunday, May 11, at 3 p.m. on the Historic Upper Quadrangle.
“This graduation class of masters' students demonstrates what can happen when IC and teachers from the surrounding school districts partner together,” Todd Oberg, director of the Teacher Preparation Program, says. “What these students have learned is having a positive impact in classrooms across the area.”
Erica Helmich, kindergarten teacher at Murrayville-Woodson Elementary School, is one of the 13 students to be the first to graduate from Illinois College with an M.A.Ed. Helmich says that she has already applied many of the ideas and techniques that she learned through the master’s program into her classroom.
“I feel my degree has already helped me in my career, by having more current and up-to-date information about the education field,” Helmich says. “The wide range of teaching experiences and grade levels represented in my master’s classes afforded me the opportunity to use what I learned in my classroom this year.”
Brianne Gerecke, math teacher at Pittsfield High School, has also benefited from the Master’s in Education program at IC. “The courses have challenged me to continuously analyze my own teaching practices and procedures. This has definitely made a difference in my classroom and to my students on a daily basis.”
The college began offering the M.A.Ed. graduate program during the 2011 fall semester and was fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in the spring of 2012.
“The graduation of the first cohort of graduate students is the culmination of a long journey in designing the program, receiving accreditation to offer the program, building the transformative learning experiences and learning along the way about what works well and what does not,” Oberg says. “ The students in the first cohort were a large part of this journey.”
The Class of 2014 includes 13 graduate students and 208 undergraduates. Illinois College will confer Master of Arts in Education, Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees upon its 180th graduating class. An honorary Bachelor of Arts degree will be bestowed upon Illinois College Board of Trustee Joan Mitchell DeBoer.
Jeff Garland, associate professor of art, will give the commencement address. This honor was awarded to Garland after he was named the Harry Joy Dunbaugh Distinguished Professor Award recipient for 2014 at the Celebration of Excellence last month.
Continuing the Illinois College tradition, the members of the 50th reunion class, 1964, are invited to march with the Class of 2014 processional at commencement. In case of rain, commencement exercises will be held in the Bruner Fitness and Recreation Center’s Sherman Gymnasium.
The annual baccalaureate service will be held Sunday at 10:30 a.m. in Rammelkamp Chapel with the Illinois College Department of Music performing a pre-baccalaureate concert at 10 that morning. During the service, seniors Josephine Oshiafi, Clay Nordsiek and Phuong Nguyen will share their Illinois College experience.
Live Video Stream
For those family members and friends who are unable to attend Commencement, the college offers a live video stream of the ceremony beginning at 3 p.m. Follow this link to view the live stream of commencement on Sunday.