Lake Erie College Students Set to Speak at May 2019 Commencement


Lake Erie College will celebrate commencement on Saturday, May 11 at 11 a.m. in the Jerome T. Osborne Family Athletic & Wellness Center. During the ceremony, two students will have a chance to address the attendees with a legacy from the class of 2019. Michael “Bub” McDougall ’19 will present the legacy from the 2019 undergraduate class, and Katharine Wilson ’19 will present the legacy from the 2019 graduate class.

Both McDougall and Wilson are nontraditional students. Wilson spends all of her free time with her kids, when she’s not in class or working full time at an insurance company in Mentor. McDougall is finishing at LEC in only three years after taking summer classes every year, sometimes working two jobs while making time for his family at home.

McDougall spent almost 15 years in the military before coming to LEC. “With my experience in the military, I like to mirror the pressure and tempo that I had there,” he says. “That helps me keep balanced.”

Wilson, who will be graduating with an MBA, plans to return to school for her Master of Social Work. With that and her MBA, she hopes to work at the VA, combining her knowledge of business administration and social issues. Her interest in social work extends beyond school, and Wilson has run a blog on domestic violence for 8 years. She started it as a way to support her own journey and turned it into a resource for those looking for comfort or hope. Until she can pursue a career in social work, she has worked in insurance for 6 years while completing school.

“Every day is different in the insurance world, so I find it keeps me very busy, and usually interested,” Wilson says. “Between the unpredictable nature of weather, drivers, and the overall insurance climate, it is never boring!”

During her time at LEC, Wilson’s favorite class was Ethical and Legal Issues in Healthcare. She has an interest in the link between a successful business and the ethics involved in managing. Wilson was thankful for professors at LEC who could make even the driest subjects interesting.

“Dr. Bird really made an impact on me,” she explained. “Two of my daughters were born while I was working on this degree, and he was someone I felt was always in my corner. Even just through simple things like allowing me to take classes out of order. He shows that he is committed to the students he comes in contact with.”

McDougall, a Human Resources Management major, has been offered a direct hire after graduation at Key Bank, where he will intern over the summer. This past year he interned at Rayonier Advanced Materials in Jacksonville, Florida. He thinks LEC set him up for success, because he could more easily understand concepts he was taught at his internship. He also enjoyed a personalized atmosphere at Rayonier, similar to the LEC campus.

“Instead of just being some intern, they allowed me to go to different sections of HR and see how it impacts the business,” McDougall said.

Even with his busy schedule, McDougall found time to be involved on campus. He was a member of the Student Government Association and helped at Black Student Union events as a DJ, another of his side jobs. McDougall doesn’t live on campus, but he likes to stay abreast of campus events anyway and interact with the other undergraduate students.

“Despite the age difference and the different places they were in in life, he could easily connect with students and led them, very subtly, by his example and contagious zest for intellectual life,” Jeanna Purses Director of the Lincoln Library and adjunct instructor said of McDougall as a student.

After joining the military just to get a chance at higher education, McDougall is incredibly thankful for his time at LEC. The hard work it took him to get here gives him daily inspiration to make it to class, even when life gets in the way. He is incredibly honored to have been chosen as a student speaker for the May 2019 Commencement.

“I was just floored when I was selected to speak,” he said. “It was a great way for me to summarize my experience but also give thanks to some professors who helped me along the way. Let me tell you about tailored, personalized, genuine care for students. I know it’s not just me, I know it’s everybody because everybody is saying the same thing. It’s really, really awesome and that’s why this was perfect for me.”

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