Two born-and-raised Detroiters who chose to transcend their comfort zones and embrace the unfamiliar will address the Class of 2022 at Michigan Technological University’s Midyear Commencement.
Student speaker Jailynn Johnson, a graduating chemist with a minor in math, and Michigan Tech Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Brenda Ryan, a 1976 metallurgical and materials engineering graduate and award-winning owner of multiple businesses, will help celebrate the awarding of 292 undergraduate and more than 150 graduate degrees in a ceremony that begins at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, in the Student Development Complex (SDC) Varsity Gymnasium.
Like many high school students, Johnson’s final years at Detroit Renaissance included going back and forth on choosing a college. She wasn’t considering Tech until she met a regional recruiter at her school’s on-site college day–and was invited to a hockey game. “That hockey game was the first time I really thought Tech could be a good fit,” Johnson said.
Ryan, who has twice served on Michigan Tech’s board of trustees, chose Michigan Tech sight unseen; it was recommended by her metallurgy teacher at Cass Technical High School. In the early ’70s her family drove her up and dropped her off for her first semester on a campus she’d never visited. In the years since, Ryan has played a major role in helping Tech realize its vision.
“One very memorable highlight was serving on the Presidential Search Committee. As a trustee, this was one of the most important decisions to be made for the University,” Ryan said. “Our charge was to select a transformational leader to ensure Michigan Tech’s relevancy and success for many years to come; we got it right with President (Rick) Koubek.”