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WHEDA CEO Joaquin Altoro Presented Keynote; Congressional Gold Medal Winner William Coffer Jr. Received Distinguished Alumnus Award at MATC Winter Commencement Dec. 13 

Updated Dec. 16, 2019

Joaquin Altoro, CEO and executive director of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA)  presented the keynote speech at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Winter Commencement at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Miller High Life Theatre. More than 750 students graduated from associate degree, technical diploma, apprentice and adult high school programs. William Coffer Jr., who received the Congressional Gold Medal as one of the first African-Americans to enlist in the Marine Corps, received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the college.

MATC President Vicki J. Martin officially conferred the degrees; Mark Foley, chairman of the MATC District Board, addressed the assembly. MATC board members Erica Case, Lisa Olson, Citlali Mendieta-Ramos and Mary Scheibel also attended.

Altoro served as vice president of town banking for Town Banking of Delafield before his appointment by Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers as CEO and executive director of WHEDA this past June. He also served as city plan commissioner for the City of Milwaukee for more than seven years. Altoro is an alumnus of MATC and holds a bachelor’s degree from Cardinal Stritch University.

Coffer was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his military service in August. When he completed basic training in 1948, he became one of the first African Americans to serve in the Marines. Because the Marines were heavily segregated at the time, all 20,000 African American Marines recruited between 1942 and 1949 went through basic training at Montford Point Camp in North Carolina. Coffer went on to serve two years in Korea. When he returned from the service, he earned an associate degree from MATC and a bachelor’s degree from Marquette University. He later served as manager at the Milwaukee Housing Authority.

Amanda Ann Szatkowski, who graduated with an associate degree in accounting, will presented the student speech. She also received the Outstanding Associate Degree Graduate Award. Sarah Rose Sesterhenn-Lee, who received a paralegal studies diploma, also received the Outstanding Technical Diploma Graduate Award. Keith L. Williams was the Outstanding Adult High School Graduate Award recipient.

Video of Cerremony