McHenry County College has more than 709 graduation candidates this spring who have applied for more than 779 degrees and certificates.
The event will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 10, in the MCC gym/multipurpose room in Building A. One highlight will be a presentation by 2014 Distinguished Alumna Judge Mary Nader of McHenry. Nader is an associate judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit for McHenry County. She is one of three recipients of MCC's 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, along with Mary Miller and Sandra Pierce. Miller, a Crystal Lake resident, is CEO and president of Miller Verchota Inc. in Crystal Lake. Pierce, a Huntley resident, is CEO and president of Phoenix Woodworking in Woodstock.
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The student speaker will be Joe Rice of Woodstock. He will receive an associate in arts degree and plans to pursue theater and philosophy after leaving MCC. Rice has been involved with Student Life for the past year and a half, participating in Alternative Spring Break, Student Senate, College Activities Board, and Down to Earth club. He has served as the treasurer for the College Activities Board for the past year and as a conflict resolution peer mentor. This year, he was the recipient of the Servant Leader Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership skills related to serving the needs of others and Outstanding Student in Conflict Resolution.
Rice is praised by his peers, faculty, and supervisors as a compassionate, wise, and intelligent individual, with a great emotional sensitivity and ability to support his fellow students.
Also speaking will be MCC President Vicky Smith. In addition, Laura Power, English instructor, will lead the faculty charge speech. She is MCC's nominee for the 2014 Illinois Community College Trustee Association Outstanding Full-time Faculty Member of the Year.
As a mother of two, Mary Nader went back to school at McHenry County College and earned her associate degree in 1983. After graduating from MCC, Nader continued her education at Loyola University in Chicago. Majoring in English and minoring in criminal justice, she received her bachelor's degree in 1990. She was then accepted into Loyola University Law School and graduated in 1994 with a juris doctorate. She went back to school one more time and earned a degree in psychology from Columbia University in 2005.
Nader worked for the McHenry County State's Attorney office for several years and then for Waggoner Law Firm, P.C. before opening her own practice in McHenry. Throughout her career, she was well recommended and a highly sought divorce attorney in McHenry County. Because of her strong advocacy for children of divorce, countless families in this area have benefited from getting the representation they deserve.
Nader stayed connected to MCC as an adjunct English teacher for several years. In 2012, she fulfilled a lifelong dream when she was appointed Associate Judge of the 22nd Judicial Circuit in McHenry County.