Fourteen Indiana Women’s Prison Graduates Receive Marian University Degrees

by Glendal Jones | May 31, 2024

You could feel the excitement and anticipation in a place where some look forward to leaving. During an inspiring ceremony at the Indiana Women's Prison on May 23, 2024, fourteen individuals proudly received their Associate of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees from Marian University in cooperation with the Women’s College Partnership, also sponsored by the University of Notre Dame. Each of these women has a story of tough life lessons, choices, hard work, dedication, and resilience, as their journey is a testament to the transformative power of education.

Speaking on behalf of the graduates, Apryl Hammer, an Associate of Arts graduate, delivered a stirring and heartfelt address. "I am a voice and stand for each graduate the past two years who have turned into a faucet that no one can turn off. Now, you can do anything with your education that you set your mind to."

Among the graduates was Brittney Watson, who earned her Bachelor of Arts degree. In her speech, she reflected on her and her fellow graduates' journey, emphasizing the profound sense of community and mutual support that had defined their educational experience.

Marian University President Daniel J. Elsener also addressed the graduates, welcoming them to the Marian community. "I applaud you on your journey and invite you to be great stewards of your God-given talents. Your promise will be fulfilled as I encourage you to be active in the lives of others. Be the trustworthy, inquisitive and skilled leaders you’ve become as I welcome you as Marian University alumni," Elsener remarked, emphasizing the importance of using their education to lead and serve others.

The ceremony was a powerful testament to the graduates' determination to pursue their education despite significant challenges, illustrating the profound impact that access to higher education can have on individuals and their communities.

As the graduates embark on their new paths, they carry with them skills and knowledge, a deep sense of purpose, and the confidence to make meaningful, positive contributions to society.

Denise Lechner, who received an Associate of Arts degree, summed it up this way. “I can honestly say that this has been not just a life-changing experience, but an empowering one. I’m so thankful to everyone who made this a possibility for me.”


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