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Winona State University gave Mary Haupt more than just a degree; it gave her the chance to make good on a lifelong dream.

Haupt’s path to a master’s degree has been anything but simple. She  received her bachelor’s degree in 1982, and spent years working in marketing and job training. She later switched gears to raise her three children, but as her youngest daughter entered school, she sought to pick up where she “left off.”

A native of Pulaski, Wis., Haupt originally enrolled in a master’s program at UW-Stout. However, after hearing so many people praise the WSU graduate program in Community Counseling, she made the switch to become a Warrior, enrolling in 2005 as a post-traditional student.

Haupt liked WSU so much, she jumped at the opportunity to work full-time at the university, deferring her academic pursuit temporarily. Then in fall 2012, she committed to attending classes fulltime, all the while continuing to work in the Student Life and Development area and completing an internship in Counseling Services.

“The Counselor Education department and staff helped me regain the confidence in my ability to do good in this world, something that I longed to do when I graduated in 1982 the first time,” said Haupt.

Haupt said her favorite part about WSU is the people. Role models and mentors are “everywhere,” she said.

“Everyone pulled for me from day one, and saw something in me that used to be there a few decades ago,” said Haupt. “They pulled the happiness right out of me, and now you will see a glow that shows I’m right where I should be.”

After finishing graduate school, Haupt hopes to work in mental health counseling, with the ultimate goal of being an educator or speaker.

Her advice to her peers as she graduates is to never give up. “A set-back just means a comeback, and to realize that knowledge of the world and yourself comes with time.”

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Brett Burger

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