Photo by Brian Waldbillig ’18

A native of Commerce, Texas, Maude Livingston came to Winona State University for a change of scenery. She loved the small campus and the sense of community at WSU, and she appreciated the ample resources dedicated to student success.

“I had access to tutors and quiet areas to study. When I was struggling with understanding the course work I could always talk to a professor about it,” Livingston said. “I’m proud to graduate from WSU because it means I’m a warrior. I faced challenges here and I overcame them. When people said that I couldn’t do something, I proved them wrong.”

During her time at WSU, Livingston became involved in the K.E.A.P. (Knowledge, Empowerment, Advocacy, Pluralism) Center, where she made lifelong friends and found a mentor in Alexander Hines, former director of Inclusion and Diversity at WSU.

“He was the one who made sure I didn’t give up my dreams,” she said.

The K.E.A.P. Center also introduced Livingston to WSU’s H.O.P.E. Academy, a program that serves to introduce underrepresented and underserved high school students to the college experience. Through her work with the students at H.O.P.E. Academy, Livingston discovered a passion for working with teens and young adults and cemented her desire to earn a graduate degree in Family and Marriage Counseling.

Livingston graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and minors in Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Sociology. She leaves WSU with a broadened perspective of who she is, and a positive outlook for the future.

“You are stronger than you think,” she said. “I learned that even though things are stressful and things can be difficult, the drive to do something you love wins every time.”

WSU Fall Commencement Ceremonies will take place Friday, Dec. 8, in McCown Gymnasium on the Winona campus. The 10 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business, the College of Education, and the College of Science and Engineering. The 2 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Liberal Arts, and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

For more information, visit or call University Communications at 507-457-5024.