Vigna achieves goal, earns degree

Nineteen years after her first day as a student on Baker’s campus, Campus Visit Coordinator Rachelle Vigna will graduate May 20 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business management.

“I guess it is that feeling you get when you hear the bagpipes,” Vigna said. “I was always amazed at graduation when you hear them. Sometimes when I’d get discouraged, I have a bagpipe CD I’d play to keep me going.”

Vigna will receive her degree through work she has done with the School of Professional and Graduate Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences. She will begin working on her Master’s degree through Baker, and is glad to continue working for Baker in the admission’s department.

“I am honored and humbled to be working for Baker and to be a graduate of Baker and in this current position to promote the very place that I love,” Vigna said. “Having a relationship with current students is very important to me and so is trying to encourage students to finish their educational goals. I encourage them to not take the long route I did. My attitude was if you work hard you can get anywhere, and it still is. But, society states you have to have that piece of paper to get in the door.”

Vigna began her undergraduate education in 1988 as a freshman at the college of arts and sciences. Between then and now she completed a short stint at Kansas State University, held several different jobs, and became a wife and mother. However, among all of the roles she has taken on she said Baker and Baldwin City are still the places she can call home for her and her family.

“I loved Baker all along but I didn’t know it. When I was here (in 1988) it seemed like everyone knew my business. Then when you leave and go to another university when nobody knows you, you realize it isn’t so bad when everybody knows you like they did,” Vigna said. “It’s a feeling of caring. I didn’t used to hug everyone before I came to Baker, now I hug everyone. It is an appreciation for who you are instead of what you do. I don’t get that feeling anywhere else.”

Secretary to the Minister at Osborne Chapel Marla Potter said she is proud of Vigna.

“I’ve head her tell me about her struggle,” Potter said. “(I) heard her struggle of being a mom, working and going to school and her goal to complete that task. … I think it is great. I’m excited to watch her walk across the stage. It doesn’t make it less of an achievement for those who do it in less time, but it’s more of a reward for her that she is accomplishing this.”

Senior Ashley Locklin worked as Vigna’s assistant in the admission’s office, and said she watched Vigna keep a countdown until graduation.

“To me she’s a role model – just to see her get through school and keep going and didn’t give up,” Locklin said. “It’s an inspiration that even if you didn’t get something done when you wanted to get it done, to just keep going.”