Joe Dvorsky went home and told Katherine Frank, whose mantra is that “students are the center of everything we do at UW-Stout.” She wanted to know more and scheduled a virtual meeting with Keegan.
During their meeting, Frank and Professor Anne Hoel, business department, ascertained that Keegan, during his career, had essentially done the work that his capstone course required. This included writing a 67-page business plan and finishing a yearlong leadership training program.
Then came words of redemption and reconciliation: He hadn’t been expelled as he thought but rather put on academic probation. If he submitted a Credit for Prior Learning portfolio and could demonstrate how he met the objectives of the Strategic Management and Business Policies course, he could receive the capstone credits — and his bachelor’s degree.
“When they told me that I could get the degree, I started crying. I was just hoping for an opportunity to get back into class. I was emotionally overwhelmed,” Keegan said.
This time, he completed his classwork. On Saturday, May 8, he will receive a degree in management and the diploma he thought he’d left behind with his video game consoles.
He will be one of 1,075 new graduates.
“Joe and I couldn’t be happier for Keegan and are delighted that we could help him complete his UW-Stout story,” Frank said. “I saw someone with a strong desire to reach their educational goal, and I was able to help make the connections necessary for him to find a path to graduation.”
Dvorsky said it was “gratifying to know that I was able to play a small part in helping Keegan” achieve his goal.
Hoel also was excited to help facilitate the final step for an appreciative Keegan.
“Keegan’s heartfelt description of the gratitude he feels being able to tell his two young children that he is now a college graduate is very inspiring,” Hoel said. “The same holds true of the opportunity to meet adult learners where they are to assist in achieving their educational goals.”
UW-Stout’s undergraduate online management program is geared toward nontraditional students. The business administration program is offered on campus.
Thinking beyond himself
Keegan has grown far beyond the person he was during his years at UW-Stout, realizing that he is a cog in a much bigger machine.
“It’s not about the money, not about me. My job is about the people. My No. 1 priority is taking care of guys on shop floor so they can be successful at their job, outside of the job and support their families,” he said.