Concordia University Wisconsin ushered in a new class of graduates last weekend. More than 1,000 graduates, each with his or her own unique, God-given talents, creativity, faith, and courage, will soon embark on new lives of purpose.

In the week leading up to commencement, Concordia’s Strategic Communications team posted a series that highlighted just a few of this year’s uncommon graduates.

In case you missed them, here are their stories.

SabaSaba Sadat Qureshi participated in Concordia’s graduate commencement exercises on Friday, May 18, which happened to be the same day as her mother’s birthday. Sadly, Saba’s mother wasn’t able to see her daughter graduate. She passed away unexpectedly in 2016, but not before instilling in Saba a desire to achieve her degree.







Aiden Gill's familyAiden Gill is passionate about affecting change in his hometown of Milwaukee. He graduated from Concordia with his undergraduate degree in justice and public policy, and he plans to serve in law enforcement. His “peanut” gallery on Saturday included his parents, his grandparents, and all 16 of his siblings.







GenesisGenesis Estrada, a pharmacy alumna, was the student speaker for Concordia’s graduate commencement ceremony. Her speech was about the grit required of her to make it to graduation. If you know Genesis’ story, you know grit was a perfect subject for the first-generation college graduate to speak about.







SilasSilas Hasselbrook crossed Concordia’s commencement stage more than prepared for the next leg of his academic journey. The pre-seminary student graduated with dozens of credit hours more than what was necessary for his degree. It’s a good thing he loves learning!







AnnaAnna Loest was the first graduate of Concordia’s communications sciences and disorders program, and next she’ll go on to pursue her master’s degree in the field. It’s all in an effort to become a speech-language pathologist, a vocation she felt inspired to pursue because of her sister, who was born with Sotos Syndrome.







KathleenKathleen Merrill says her commencement walk was largely thanks to Concordia’s incredibly supportive faculty and staff. Shortly after enrolling in CUW’s online graduate education program, she learned she had a brain cyst that would require two separate surgeries. In the end, Kathleen says the experience will make her a better teacher.


— This story is written by Kali Thiel, director of university communications for Concordia University Wisconsin and Ann Arbor. She may be reached at or 262-243-2149.

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