Joliet Junior College instructor Wayne Gawlik looks forward to conveying the value of collaboration with JJC’s Class of 2018.
Gawlik, a business management and finance professor, is the college’s faculty speaker at its May 18 commencement ceremony.
“I want them to know that what they’re doing here is the effort of community and the effort of interaction,” Gawlik said.
Gawlik, of Joliet, has served in JJC’s Business Department for 23 years. Before transitioning to higher education, he spent 12 years a stock broker, 10 years as an insurance agent and five years as a bank manager.
In the classroom, Gawlik places a big emphasis the word “yet,” which he summarizes as the continuing effort of lifelong learning.
“The beginning of personal, academic, or even career attitude change is summed up in the word ‘yet,’” he said. “Yet signifies an ongoing process. As in ‘I am not getting it…Yet. I’m not there… Yet.’ It represents determination.”
This attitude serve as daily opportunities to make a positive impact on students, which Gawlik says keeps him motivated.
“Every day is different. There’s always a challenge, there’s always an opportunity to interact with a student to make their day better.”
He gets joy from hearing positive feedback from students, especially those who’ve returned to campus to share with him their success stories.
Besides preparing his speech on May 18, Gawlik always looks forward to the student commencement speaker.
“What stands out is the student speaker’s determination to overcome some adversity and graduate from college… Hearing these victories are important to Administration, Faculty, and each JJC student.”
This year’s student speaker is Brandon Williams, an adult student who returned to school after serving in the military.
Gawlik has a bachelor’s and an MBA from California Southern University, a master’s of education from American University, and a master’s of higher education administration from Robert Morris University. He’s currently completing a doctorate from the American College of Education. In his free time, Gawlik enjoys financial counseling with Habitat for Humanity and the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce’s Education Committee. Gawlik has six children who all attended JJC and eight grandchildren.
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