Winona State celebrates grads


Shannon Galliart

Winona State alumni help graduating students get signed in and ready for graduation during the Warrior Graduate Celebration where students picked up honors cords and commencement tickets on Thursday, April 11 in East Room.

Kelly Johnson, News Reporter

A two-part Warrior Graduate Celebration occurred on Thursday, April 11 for the 2019 graduates to gather all final materials.

The first part of the event was to finalize necessities for graduation, as the event was the place for students to pick up their commencement tickets, honor chords and cap and gown.

Tracy Hale, associate director of alumni relations, called the event a celebration.

“It’s also a celebration saying ‘Welcome to the Alumni society,’” Hale said. “A lot of students don’t even know that [Alumni Services] exist until they graduate and we want to let them know we are here to help them enter the community as Alumni.”

The Warrior Celebration was previously hosted at Island City Brewing Co., getting about 300 students during the spring and 150 in December. The planning committee realized the venue was not large enough to accommodate all students, which sparked the idea to combine the informational session and the celebration into one event, large enough to host as many graduating students who wanted to come.

With over 1,100 students graduating this spring, the planning committee, which consists of Alumni Services, the Warrior Success Center, Career Services, the Registrar Office, the Bookstore and others, started planning in January for the event, with the goal of accommodating as many graduates as possible.

Bookstore supervisor, Karen Krause, appreciated the combination of the celebration and information into one event.

“It gives students the opportunity to prepare for graduation all in one area instead of having to travel from place to place to get graduation information and material,” Krause said.

Associate Director for Career Services, DeAnna Goddard, explained Career Services’ role at the event. Career Services had two tables at the event.

One of the tables included a survey for students to fill out. The survey was for Career Services to find out if students found employment or are going to continue their education.

The second table was to help those in job-seeking mode.

“We want those [students] still in job-seeking mode to know that we are here to support them, so we have all sorts of handouts and some career management tools like Handshake and information on LinkedIn here,” Goddard said.

Krause said she enjoyed having the opportunity to visit and celebrate with the graduates as they see their hard work begin to pay off.

Seniors Lexi Thostenson and Jasmine Hohenstein, psychology and special education developmentally disabled majors respectively, attended the celebration to gather their graduation gear.

“I got my tickets and my honors chords, it was all right here,” Hohenstein said.

Thostenson said there was plenty of “free stuff and picture opportunities.”