50th Stories

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With a love for Health Information Technology and a deep appreciation for the opportunities Harper College has provided, the future is bright for Haroon Wilson.


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Deborah Damko’s brother graduated from Lake Forest College. Her sister graduated from Northern Illinois University. And Deborah…well, in 1975, she had started college – at Harper, in fact – but she had never finished. Until now.


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Since enrolling at Harper College, Karina Guillen has taken big strides to make the most of her learning experience in the Early Childhood Development program - and she's only just getting started.


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Alison Walwark is the recipient of the 2016-2017 Joseph Yohanan Architectural Technology Endowed Scholarship award and the 2016-2017 Rita and John Canning Women's Program at Harper College scholarship award.


Zaira Ponce and her son

“Remember, Mom, when you used to work two jobs? Remember how you had to work on Christmas, New Year’s Day and all the other holidays?” Zaira Ponce and her twelve-year-old son talk about how their life used to be and picture how different their future looks now that she is getting her associate degree. It is a future where she is a social worker, helping others, and working in a job that includes benefits. A future where she and her son can spend time together. A future she never imagined possible, but one that is now getting closer and closer because people at Harper believed in her.


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Darren Buchanan is the recipient of the 2016-2017 Gap Fashion Scholarship Fund and the 2016-2017 Marilyn Shiely Coste Memorial Endowed Scholarship.


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Nikhil Paidipally is the 2016-2017 Harold Cunningham Memorial Mathematics Scholarship recipient.


Calvin Byrd

Did you know that more than 300 military-connected students (active/reservists, veterans and eligible dependents) are currently enrolled at Harper? One such student is Calvin Byrd.


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Sabrina Balint is the 2016-2017 Glen Reeser Scholarship to Promote Creativity in STEM Studies recipient and the 2016-2017 Drs. Robert H. and C. Jayne Wilcox Otter Chemistry Endowed Scholarship recipient.


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Marcus Dover is the 2016-2017 Shirley Gross-Moore Endowment for Underrepresented Students recipient.


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Syed Muhammad Wali Rizvi is the 2016-2017 Walter E. and Elizabeth M. Schroeder Memorial Endowment recipient and the 2016-2017 Mathematics and Science Endowment recipient.


October 25, 2017

Lilly Vasquez and her children

“Are you okay?” Three little words that made all the difference. That’s what Harper Counselor Shari Pergricht asked Lilly Vasquez one day during a counseling appointment. “I just broke down in tears,” recalled Lilly. Lilly had been taking classes sporadically at Harper, as time and money permitted. She could only be away from home for a short period of time without raising her husband’s suspicions. He didn’t approve of her getting an education; he was emotionally, physically and psychologically abusive. Married for 20 years and the mother of three children, Lilly felt trapped.


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When Joan Mundstock enrolled at Harper College 50 years ago, little did she know that she would continue to enroll as a lifelong learner at age 75.


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When Roger Mussell was hired at Harper College 50 years ago, his office consisted of a small table, a folding chair, and a telephone. Learn how Roger used what he had to develop the Electronics Technology Program that continues to thrive today.


September 11, 2017

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For Harper alum Jermaine Pigee, the future was uncertain until he enrolled at Harper College. Learn more about how Jermaine went on to do what nobody thought was possible.


Betty Gialdini

When Betty Giladini approached Harper College's founding president Dr. Lahti about starting a fashion design program, he merely smiled and said "get started." Learn more about Betty's journey and the impact her dedication had on Harper College.


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Harper Alum, Loretta Dreyer, reflects on her time as a student at Harper College and all the good things in her life that followed.


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Abolanle Salami enrolled at Harper College after migrating to the area from Nigeria with her two kids. Here she reflects on the people and resources at Harper that helped her achieve her dream of getting a college degree.


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Harper alum, Adriana Poterash, was able to build the dream life she's always wanted thanks to the education and support of Harper College.


Dr. Beverly Goodman

As a child, Dr. Beverly Goodman dreamed of being a National Geographic photographer. Instead, as an adult, she's been honored by the publication as an Emerging Explorer - the latest inductee in a family of heroes she grew up idolizing.


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