50th Stories

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Dr. Jaime Quezada dropped out of high school with an uncertain future. The son of Mexican immigrants, Jaime lacked the confidence to pursue better opportunities for himself, but had the dream of becoming a doctor.

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Dr. Meg McEnery-Schnoor’s career as a special education teacher and school administrator began while attending Harper College in 1989. A professor suggested that she consider teaching special education because he felt she had the patience, desire and intelligence to foster learning in special needs populations.

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At the tender age of 13, Reveca (Becky) Torres was in an automobile accident and fractured her spinal cord, paralyzing her arms and legs. In 1999, unsure if she could physically pursue her dream career in fashion, she enrolled at Harper.


Professor of Film at Harper College, Mario Contreras, met his wife and discovered his love for film as a student at Harper.

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The road to a college degree isn't always easy but for Harper alum, Kara Zukoski, she found all the help, guidance, and support she needed right here at the college.

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Shirley Garrison was a college graduate and a recent divorcee when she had an epiphany. "I just thought, 'I'm going to go back to school,'" she says. "I needed to bring my skills up to speed, and what a gift Harper was. Harper gave me that stuff that I needed to say, 'I can accomplish this.'"


Harper alum, Leslie Van Wolvelear, reflects on how Harper College helped her succeed in both her academic and professional pursuits.


James Lathouris is a visually impaired Harper College student who, thanks to the college's Access and Disability Services Program, has been able to pursue his dream of one day working for Microsoft.


Not sure what career path to pursue, Harper College alum, Dan Dinelli, discovered his love for horticulture as a student at Harper.

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Some of Paolo Cascio’s earliest formative experiences came as a photographer working on Harper College’s student newspaper, The Harbinger.

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Marguerita Whitby, Operations Manager, Liberal Arts at Harper College, opens up about the impact Harper College has had on her life and the lives of her children.

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Harper College alum, Nate Ruben, reflects on the classes and professors that shaped his life and set him on the path for success as an entrepreneur and small business owner.

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In 1970, Diane Ahola met Mike Gaetz in class at Harper College and they began dating. Forty-six years later, their love story picked up right where it started.

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Former NFL player and 2013 Harper College Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, Tim Tyrrell, says Harper College fueled his desire to work hard and never stop learning.

Michael Nejman, Former Harper College Staff Member and Alum

Michael Nejman, former Director of Student Activities and Distinguished Alumni Award recipient, has seen it all at Harper College. Read on for some of the highlights.

Paul Lebreck

Paul LeBreck reflects on his time as a student at Harper College in the 1970's which eventually led him to a career in criminal justice.

Wali Rizvi

Harper College student Wali Rizvi is still trying to wrap his head around the news he’s been awarded the most prestigious scholarship for community college students in the country. The Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship will award him up to $40,000 per year for up to three years.

Shaheena Lofthus

Shaheena Lofthus, a first year student, lives in Mount Prospect, one of the 23 communities in Harper’s district, and she is thrilled to be at Harper. Shaheena was so eager to begin her college education that she opted to take the GED when she was only 17 years old in order to enter college earlier than if she had followed a traditional high school path. Getting into college, done! Getting to college, not as easy.

January 01, 2017

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Author: 50th | Tags: fifty-story | Read More

Emily Kmiecik

Emily Kmiecik is in her second year of Harper’s nursing program, but it hasn’t been an easy road. In fact, she wasn’t initially drawn to nursing, until a fateful day in May 2013.

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