By Brian Kleemann
Anna Gorman of Westmont (above left) and Molly Langlotz of Woodridge are the 2018 Outstanding Graduates at College of DuPage.
Gorman is earning her Associate in Arts degree and plans to transfer to Elmhurst College, where she will major in Political Science and Philosophy. Her goal is to pursue a Juris Doctorate with a focus on small business or family law. Langlotz is also earning her Associate in Arts degree and plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her areas of interest are clinical psychology and forensic psychology, and she would like to provide people with the tools they need to succeed in life.
The Outstanding Graduate finalists are Naomi Cain (Winfield), Marcela Calderon (Downers Grove), John Kolze (Wood Dale), Deyna Parvanova (Naperville) and Josie Suter (Naperville).
Gorman didn’t know what she wanted to study when she selected College of DuPage.
“I had other options for college, but I knew that I wanted to get involved with clubs and organizations, be able to work and not sacrifice my academics,” she said. “COD allowed me to do all of this as well as helped me grow and mature.”
Her interest in law stemmed from participation in a state senatorial campaign in 2016, from which she learned about elections, making a difference and the importance of involvement. At COD, Gorman immersed herself in activities, serving as both treasurer and president of two student clubs – Anthropology Club and Model United Nations.
It was as a member of the Model UN that she began developing a deeper interest in government and law. She received the Outstanding Delegate award during a conference at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a verbal commendation during a conference at the University of Chicago.
“Through Model UN, I learned how to speak intelligently and passionately about a topic,” she said. “My involvement with the Model UN really prepared me for my path in law, as did so many professors who patiently met with me during their office hours. (Philosophy/Religious Studies) Professor Leslie Wolf let me ask as many questions as possible, while (English) Professor Eric Martinson inspired me.”
Gorman also was an Honors Scholar and an active member of Phi Theta Kappa. Being named an outstanding graduate is an honor for which she is grateful.
“It means that every night I stayed up studying extra hard meant something to people outside of my classes,” she said. “My time at College of DuPage and this honor have made me more confident in my path and inspired me to greater potential.
“Initially I was a little envious of my friends who went to a four-year school, but at College of DuPage I found myself. One of COD’s best assets is that it is a place for lost souls. You can take classes and discover your own passions. It’s a place to expand your knowledge.”
Click here to watch Gorman's Commencement speech.
Langlotz initially came to College of DuPage for the High School Equivalency program in order to pass her GED. Although she had dropped out of high school due to her home life, she wanted to return to school and found at COD an encouraging learning environment.
“When I first came to COD, I was really scared, because I had been out of school for five years,” she said. “My intent was to go after my GED because it was a free program and then continue. Even when I had passed my GED with honors and received a scholarship to continue, I was terrified of college courses. Julie Casey, a faculty member with the HSE program, told me I could do it, and her confidence in me really pushed me during those first classes.”
Langlotz earned straight A’s her first semester and continued that success, now graduating with a 4.0 GPA and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa. During her time at COD, she began to focus on a career in psychology.
“Psychology means a lot to me because it’s a way to heal people,” she said. “I didn’t have a normal high school experience. I thought my life was over after I dropped out, but it was my two older sisters who really supported me throughout my entire journey. They convinced me to keep going.
“I’ve learned that the past doesn’t dictate the future. It’s a part of me, but it doesn’t have to be tomorrow. My hope and goal is to help heal as many people as possible.”
Langlotz was accepted at every transfer school to which she applied. She has only great things to say about her experience at College of DuPage, including the fact that it was the place where she met both her best friend and her boyfriend.
“I would tell someone considering COD to go for it and not be afraid,” she said. “I was afraid at first and worried that I would be treated as inferior because I didn’t graduate from high school. But at COD they are not going to tear you down, they want to build you up.”
Click here to watch Langlotz's Commencement speech.
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 26,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants nine associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.