MATC to Graduate More Than 1,500 Students at 2024 Spring Commencement

Keynote speaker Ana Simpson, CEO of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, will share chapters from her life’s journey to encourage the Class of 2024

Darryll Fortune,

May 15, 2024

Spring 2024 Commencement

At noon on Sunday, May 19, Milwaukee Area Technical College will host its 2024 Spring Commencement at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee.

More than 1,500 students will receive their associate degrees, technical diplomas, apprenticeship diplomas and adult high school diplomas. In addition, 25 candidates for graduation who have served in the U.S. military will receive red, white and blue cords from the college.

This commencement ceremony is the final for MATC President Dr. Vicki J. Martin, who is retiring from the college at the end of June. “As I reflect on my professional career that spans over 40 years, I feel gratitude for the opportunities and lessons learned,” said Dr. Martin. “One of those that is most meaningful to me is the creation of Wisconsin’s first free-tuition Promise program. More than 840 students have graduated thanks to the MATC Promise scholarship.”

Gabrielle Armon-Wickers, a Financial Services student who received the Outstanding Technical Diploma Graduate Award, will kick off the commencement by welcoming students and staff into the arena.

The President’s Award winner is Soumaila Sawadogo. The President’s Award recognizes student academic achievement and contributions to the college and the community. Sawadogo is receiving an Associate of Science degree and plans to enter the Milwaukee School of Engineering. Sawadogo grew up in Burkina Faso, a country in West Africa. He plans to become an engineer and eventually return to Burkina Faso to help improve his country, which is challenged by poverty, destitution, instability, corruption, droughts and famine.

“At MATC, I’m learning from the best,” he said. “I want to take all that knowledge, go back and bring it to the people who need it.”

MATC’s student speaker is Cheron Copeland, who received the Outstanding Associate Degree Graduate Award. She is a student in the college’s Nutrition and Dietetic Technician program.

“Nutrition is my thing,” Copeland said. “My purpose is to help other people have a healthy relationship with food.”

In the fall, Copeland will start classes at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee to earn a bachelor’s degree in nutrition sciences and, eventually, a master’s degree in public health nutrition, on the way to becoming a registered dietitian. At UWM Copeland received a Froedtert Memorial Hospital Scholarship, which helps healthcare students cover costs necessary to complete their degree, including tuition, required books and supplies, and licensure exams

Keynote Speaker

Ana SimpsonAna Simpson is CEO of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast, which serves more than 17,500 girl and adult members. Most recently, Simpson served as part of the senior leadership team at Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority as the director of community and economic development. Prior to joining WHEDA, Simpson had nearly 30 years of career experience in retail, business and corporate banking, insurance, and nonprofit management.

Throughout her career, she has served on numerous boards and community associations focused on expanding business development, entrepreneurship and wealth-building opportunities for marginalized and diverse communities. Leadership roles include board positions for organizations like Family Services of Waukesha, La Casa de Esperanza, La Familia de Arte and Tempo (where she currently serves as the vice chair and sits on the membership committee). She was also appointed by the governor to sit on the Governor’s Council on Financial Literacy and Capability and taught finance classes through WWBIC.

Simpson will deliver a speech that includes thoughts and values for the graduates to take into the next chapter of their lives. Her remarks encourage graduates to have courage, to be innovative and challenge existing orthodoxies, to speak up for themselves, to exhibit confidence and character, and to start building their networks right away through associations and volunteering.


WHAT: MATC Spring Commencement

WHEN: Noon, Sunday, May 19, 2024

WHERE: Fiserv Forum, 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 30,000 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 180 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.