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Kyle Ellis’ time at Morton College was brief, but life-altering.
The two semesters Ellis attended classes here in 2013 created enough of an impact for him to recently e-mail Morton College President Stan Fields in praise of the school. Fields, in turn, forwarded Ellis’ e-mail to all employees at Morton College.
Ellis, a graduate student in higher education at the University of Illinois, wrote: “I am sending this e-mail…. to inform you of the profound experience I had while I was a student at the institution that you currently lead…"
“In January 2013, I entered the doors of Morton College for the first time and experienced one of the most life changing experiences I’ve ever had. I immediately started to dive into my coursework while getting involved on campus and developing relationships with my peers and the faculty."
“Morton College quickly taught me to believe in myself. … It is only because of the influence of your fine faculty and staff that I am achieving a 4.0 GPA in a graduate program while developing my career in higher education."
“I am forever grateful for the experience I had at your college and I thank everyone at Morton College for shaping my experience and helping me to find my ultimate passion in higher education. I could not help to share this experience with you and want to extend my gratitude for the institute that you currently lead.”
Ellis’ hometown of Mahomet is a chip shot from the University of Illinois, but the path from Cicero to Champaign, roughly 13 times farther, turned out to be his way to the state’s flagship institution.
He was working as a personal trainer and living in Lyons when Ellis, a few years removed from high school, decided to enroll in general education courses at Morton College.
“I was unsure of what I wanted to do after high school,” Ellis said. “I never was really much into school. At Morton College, I was able to find my passion. I pursued some courses and excelled. When I decided to go back, it was a turning point for me. I found myself.”
Ellis attended Morton College during the Spring and Summer semesters in 2013 before transferring to the National University of Health Sciences in Lombard where he received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences in April of 2016.
Past successful Morton College graduates have shared stories about struggling with a subject and how they were able to find that special instructor who could get them from misery to mastery.
For Ellis, it was math instructor Elizabeth Paez.
“I did struggle with math,” Ellis said. “She worked with me to help me understand algebra and be successful. She spent a lot of one-on-one time with me. She made the course exciting for me. I was actually going to class and excelling. She really helped shape my future.”
Ellis, who promotes the virtues of Morton College to area friends that are stuck in the same life rut he was in, is expected to complete his master’s degree in May. He’s also working full-time in the admissions office for a private college.
“I’m hoping to work in the area of student affairs,” said Ellis, who plans on a pursuing a doctorate. “I hope to have a high impact and empower students to be successful just like when I was at Morton College.”