Winona State University is all about community and connections, according to Spring 2017 graduate Kelvin Landherr.

“Overall, I really felt like I mattered here at WSU, and I wasn’t just a number,” said Landherr.

The Rose Creek, Minn., native appreciated the opportunity to broaden his horizons at WSU and gain perspective from the people around him.

“I’ve met so many different students from diverse backgrounds who are passionate about so many different things,” said Landherr. “I feel like I’ve learned just as much from the people around me as I have from my own coursework.”

Landherr, who will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Music – Piano Performance and a Bachelor of Science in Music Education – Instrumental Music, said WSU’s Department of Music provided him with the support, resources and opportunities he needed to succeed, including one-on-one time with instructors, hands-on experience and access to professional development.

“I’ve been lucky to travel to multiple state, national, and international conferences related to my degrees,” said Landherr. “The music department also hosts music education workshops and concerts every year, that bring in the best of the best in our field.”

Landherr also had the opportunity to work with area teachers during his time at WSU and served as a student teacher at Madison Elementary School and Winona Middle School during his senior year.

“My experience student teaching has been an absolute blast,” said Landherr. “Kids are the wittiest, most curious beings I’ve ever dealt with. One of my favorite times of the day is walking into the school in the morning and being greeted by all of the smiling faces.”

Landherr also appreciated the opportunity to give back to the Winona community during his time at WSU. Through his membership in the Student Band Organization and NAfME (National Association for Music Education), he volunteered at the Kids First after-school program and participated in city clean-up events.

“WSU is committed to building and supporting a sustainable community, which is evident through exploring our campus,” said Landherr. “Winona State gives a lot back to the community, and I’m very proud to have attended and graduated from Winona State University.”

The support of the WSU community was also important when Landherr’s younger sister passed away in a car accident his first year in Winona.

“Dealing with grief, being a full-time student and being in a new place away from home made it very challenging to handle and deal with,” said Landherr. “I was lucky to have had my friends, understanding professors and counseling services that were readily available to me for support.”

After graduation, Landherr will attend North Dakota State University: Challey School of Music to pursue a Master of Music in Piano Performance.

“The most important thing I’ve learned here is about perseverance,” said Landherr. “There is no quick, easy way to obtain success, it’s only achievable through consistent and hard work. Hard work and practice always pay off, and they do in the most rewarding way.”

WSU Spring Commencement Ceremonies will be at 9 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Friday, May 5, in McCown Gymnasium. The 9 a.m. ceremony will feature the College of Education and the College of Liberal Arts. The 12:30 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Business and the College of Science and Engineering. The 4 p.m. ceremony will feature the College of Nursing and Health Sciences. For more information on commencement, visit

For more information, contact University Communications at 507-457-5024.