Student speaker discusses “limitless courage”; Milwaukee Fire Department Assistant Chief Sharon Purifoy delivers keynote address

Darryll Fortune,

December 16, 2022


MILWAUKEE – On Sunday, December 18, 11 a.m., Milwaukee Area Technical College will host its 2022 Winter Commencement at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

More than 850 students will receive their associate degree, technical diplomas, apprenticeship and adult high school diplomas. In addition, 14 candidates for graduation who have served in the U.S. military will receive red, white and blue cords from the college.

MATC Outstanding Associate Degree Award recipient Iris Sanchez will deliver the student address. Her remarks include how limitless courage plays an important role in our lives and how unwavering perseverance toward goals and dreams delivers positive results.

Sanchez has appeared on the president’s list four times, the vice president of learning’s list twice and is in the Scholastic Honors Program, National Society of Leadership and Success, and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Her goal is to share the importance of diet and lifestyle choices on everyone’s quality of life by becoming a registered dietician and nutritionist.  

She came to MATC because as a new mother, she wanted an education close to home with affordability, high-quality instructors and the ability to transfer to a four-year university. 

She credits her success, in part, to her bilingual academic life coach -- formerly a retention coach -- who has been an open ear and a soundboard for creative ideas. 

Read more about Iris Sanchez

The ceremony’s keynote address is being delivered by Milwaukee Fire Department Assistant Chief Sharon Purifoy. Purifoy has 19 years of service with the department, including working as a firefighter, paramedic, fire lieutenant, fire captain, battalion chief, deputy chief of EMS and assistant chief of support. She is the first Black woman to rise to the rank of assistant chief in the department’s history.

Purifoy holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology from Tennessee State University and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership and Administration from Concordia University - Wisconsin.


WHAT: MATC Winter Commencement

WHEN: 11 a.m., Sunday, December 18, 2022

WHERE: Fiserv Form, 1111 North Vel R. Phillips Avenue, Milwaukee

ABOUT MATC: Wisconsin’s largest technical college and one of the most diverse two-year institutions in the Midwest, Milwaukee Area Technical College is a key driver of southeastern Wisconsin’s economy and has provided innovative education in the region since 1912. More than 25,000 students per year attend the college’s four campuses and community-based sites or learn online. MATC offers affordable and accessible education and training opportunities that empower and transform lives in the community. The college offers more than 170 academic programs — many that prepare students for jobs immediately upon completion and others that provide transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees with more than 40 four-year colleges and universities. Overwhelmingly, MATC graduates build careers and businesses in southeastern Wisconsin. The college is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.