College alumna, community volunteer chosen as keynote commencement speaker.
ROSEBURG, Oregon – Rosa Mohlsick, an alumna from Umpqua Community College, has been selected to give the keynote address at UCC’s commencement ceremony on Friday, June 15. Mohlsick, who is an active community volunteer, graduated from the College in 2009.
Mohlsick is a transplant from Oklahoma. She arrive in Oregon as a teenager, and started attending classes at UCC in 2007. She chose to attend college after a major computer company shut down; forcing her to become a displaced worker.
“When the company closed, I was absolutely devastated,” she said. “I loved my job. Around that same time, I also ended up homeless. To top things off, I had just had a baby. I kept asking myself, ‘what am I going to do?’”
Mohlsick ended up at Safe Haven Maternity Home; a non-profit organization in Roseburg that provides a safe place for young pregnant women and young women with babies who are in crisis.
“This is when my life started to turn around,” she said. “My experience there encouraged me and empowered me. It’s also what led me to UCC.”
As a dislocated worker, Mohlsick was able to go to college on a trade-out program through Umpqua Training and Employment; another non-profit organization. When she started her studies at UCC, her goal was to get a degree in business, transfer to a four-year school, and later work for a Fortune 500 company. But that isn’t what happened.
“While I was in the business program at UCC, I began volunteering for community projects,” she said. “The experiences I had created this service-oriented passion.”
Along with living at Safe Haven for two years, Mohlsick also completed her Cooperative Work Experience (CWE) requirements there. And at the end of her CWE time, she was hired to work at Safe Haven. Within three years, she became the home’s executive director.
“Looking back, I always thought I was giving back to the community,” she said. “I never saw myself working in the non-profit business world.”
Mohlsick worked at Safe Haven until the end of 2017, but her community service is still going strong. Her message to this year’s graduates will come from the heart.
“Don’t get stuck in labels that people try to give you,” she said. “Sift out your purpose and write your own story. When I was down, I found hope and a higher power in service. I hope others will be encouraged to do the same.”
UCC’s Commencement will be held Friday, June 15, at Swanson Amphitheatre on the main UCC campus. The ceremony starts at 6 p.m.
About Umpqua Community College
Nestled in the beautiful North Umpqua River Valley, Umpqua Community College is the regional center for higher education in Douglas County, Oregon. UCC provides high quality college degree programs, workforce development, and community learning opportunities.