Trinity Celebrates First Graduating Class from Waupun Prison

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August White, BA ‘21 gives the commencement speech

WAUPUN, Wis. – Trinity International University presents the first graduating class from Waupun Correctional Facility. The graduates, who are inmates serving 10 or more years, are now equipped to serve the correctional community with a BA in Biblical Studies and a minor in Psychology. 

Four years ago, Trinity International University (TIU) and Wisconsin Inmate Education Association (WIEA) partnered to provide an opportunity for inmates at the Wisconsin Department of Correction at Waupun Correctional Facility to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies with a minor in Psychology. While the academic expectations and classroom rigor promised to be equivalent to Trinity’s on-campus experience with no shortcuts, a number of people took the challenge. 

Yesterday, the first 20 students of the inaugural program proudly received their diplomas after four years of discipline and perseverance. “Over 70% of the inmates did not graduate from high school, but earned their high school equivalency while in prison,” explained Craig Long PhD ’13, Associate Dean, Waupun Correctional Extension Site. “Graduating will be a very significant victory and give them the skills to engage with those around them and make a kingdom impact.” President Nick Perrin and Provost Wayne Johnson of TIU presented the diplomas with great joy as each student graduated with honors.  

“The seniors are looking ahead to their post-graduation plans with anticipation,” said Sharon Vaught from WIEA. “Some have remarked how this is the first time in their lives they’ve ever finished anything. For most, it’s the first time they’ve dreamt about their future.”  The goal is for graduates to now serve as field mentors to help guide and counsel other incarcerated people. “With this degree, I can not only better myself, but be better for others that I encounter in case they are going through some type of tragedy or negative circumstances. Trinity has allowed me to get these tools that are essential for helping others as they do time,” said August White, BA Biblical Studies ‘21

President Perrin gives commencement speech“As president of Trinity,  I couldn’t be more proud of these students and the hurdles they’ve overcome to achieve success,” said Perrin. “My prayer is that they would come to fully understand God’s generous hand upon their lives and use their degrees to serve others.”  Trinity is thrilled to welcome these 20 students into the Trinity alumni family!

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