CCEP Graduates Celebrate With Family

Dean Tina Freiburger welcomes the first graduates of the new College of Community Engagement and Professions.
Dean Tina Freiburger welcomes the first graduates of the new College of Community Engagement and Professions.

The first-ever graduating class from the College of Community Engagement and Professions was honored at a recognition ceremony on Friday evening, Dec. 15.  

The College, which includes the Schools of Education and Information Studies and the Helen Bader School of Social Work, was formed in July 2023.    

Graduates, faculty, staff, mentors, family and friends enjoyed a dinner together, took hundreds of photos of themselves and their families. An arch decorated with black and gold balloons provided a backdrop.  

Dean Tina Freiburger congratulated the new alumni, noting that many of them were heading into helping professions as teachers, school psychologists, social workers, librarians, information sciences professionals and police officers. The recognition ceremony gave students and families a chance to celebrate in a smaller setting than the Sunday commencement. 

Many of the students took the opportunity to say a few words of thanks to parents, spouses, children, mentors and teachers who helped them reach their goals. One young man noted that he was available for work now that he’s finished. A number of students noted that they were the first-generation in their family to complete a college degree. 

“I am one of only eight percent of Latinas who has earned a master’s degree,” said Thelmy Maldonado, who earned her master’s degree in social work. She is a school social worker in the Milwaukee Public Schools, and appreciated the flexibility the Helen Bader School of Social Work gave her in completing her master’s degree, she said. Her parents, 8-year-old brother, and two friends joined her in the celebration.

Leanne Evans, associate professor of teaching and learning (third from left) with Silvey Anderson, Cassidy Feyen, Alissa Breen, and Anna Callahan.
Leanne Evans, associate professor of teaching and learning (third from left) with Silvey Anderson, Cassidy Feyen, Alissa Breen, and Anna Callahan.
Angél Xavier (holding UWM Grad sign) who earned a degree in community engagement and education, with fiancée at left and friends.
Angél Xavier (holding UWM Grad sign) who earned a degree in community engagement and education, with fiancée at left and friends.
SOIS graduate Michael Herrera.
SOIS graduate Michael Herrera.
Social work and criminology graduates gather for a photo.
Social work and criminology graduates gather for a photo.
MLIS graduates with Chad Zahrt, SOIS 
MLIS graduates with Chad Zahrt, SOIS 
assistant dean of student services and operations.
MLIS graduates with Chad Zahrt, SOIS assistant dean of student services and operations.
School of Education graduates at the celebration event.
School of Education graduates at the celebration event.
MSW graduates Erin Gauguin, Angel Churney, Ash Richards, and Michelle Cooper.
MSW graduates Erin Gauguin, Angel Churney, Ash Richards, and Michelle Cooper.
Thelmy Maldonado, who earned her master’s in social work, with her mom and little brother, Brody.
Thelmy Maldonado, who earned her master’s in social work, with her mom and little brother, Brody.