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April 13, 2018

Returning adult MS&E student honored for perseverance, success

Written By: Dean Robbins

For some returning adult students, graduating from the University of Wisconsin–Madison is nothing short of a miracle.

 Chance Cork
Chance Cork

Chance Cork, who grew up on the street and in foster care, will receive an Outstanding Undergraduate Returning Adult Student Award at an April 24 ceremony.

Cork dropped out of college and entered the workforce for six years, discovering an interest in engineering. Sheer grit got him to Madison College and then UW–Madison, where he overcame a learning disability and distinguished himself in the materials science and engineering program.

“Chance is one of the most outstanding students I’ve encountered in my 10-plus years working with UW–Madison’s transfer students,” says Jessica Regan, the College of Engineering’s transfer coordinator. “He is mature, hardworking, and determined.”

Since 1981, UW–Madison’s Adult Career and Special Student Services office and the Dean of Students have presented Outstanding Undergraduate Returning Adult Student Awards to people who have resumed their academic pursuits after a significant interruption and have attained senior status while handling all the demands of adult life.

Cork has ambitious plans to serve his community after graduation. He hopes to start a nonprofit for foster youth dreaming of a college education.

Cork initially struggled to fit in with younger students on campus but found ample opportunities to pursue his passions. He’s glad UW–Madison makes room for nontraditional undergraduates, easing their path with mentoring and financial assistance.

“I am grateful to be in an atmosphere that appreciates adult students such as myself,” he says.