It’s the first week of school and UW-Green Bay alumnus Richard Kendrick ’08 is excited… When the students return from summer break to Madison Area Technical College, Kendricks’ day kicks into high gear. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Kendrick is a mathematics instructor, math adviser and a member of the honors faculty for MATC. It’s safe to say that his students need him.
“Most of the students I deal with come from underrepresented areas within the city,” he says. “The best part of my day is speaking with a student about how to be a successful college student. After all, I was a returning adult student myself. I came from the south side of Madison, which has been given a bad reputation by most. I am enjoying the fact that Madison College is now building a south side campus which will ultimately cater to the residents of the neighborhood.”
Kendrick says he models his mentoring based on some of the faculty and staff at UW-Green Bay, especially as he spends a good majority of his time at MATC’s Student Achievement Center, tutoring math students.
“As far as the faculty that helped me achieve my dream of being a first generation college grad, I give many props to (Professors) Greg Davis and Patricia Terry. For me, it wasn’t always about academics. I felt I could go to them for support in learning how to be a college student, while gaining insight into who I would become after I graduated. I ended up graduating in 2008 as a Mathematics major (Environmental Science minor) with roughly 174 credits; well-rounded to say the least. I enjoyed learning about so many subject areas: computer science, nuclear engineering, materials engineering, and mathematics, to name a few.”
When he wasn’t in the classroom, his peers could likely find him at the Phoenix Sports Center (the predecessor to the Kress Events Center) where he even received an invitation from men’s basketball coach Dick Bennett to try out for the team as a walk-on. He also spent some time in the Phoenix Club, managing to garner a few recreational billiards championships.
In spring of last year, Kendrick returned to campus for a visit.
“My impression of the campus now is, WOW, how things have changed! I have definitely gotten older,” he joked.
He describes his job as his calling. “I enjoy waking up every day to come into work,” he says. Seeing the advancement of his students as they work towards graduation is his greatest reward.
“It is so amazing to learn that some students who started their math classes with me have completed their degrees. I have written numerous reference letters to date for my students. The last day of classes, I always give out my business card just in case they made need anything else to advance their careers.
And he is likely to share his favorite quote… “It is not what you know when you get here, it is what you know when you leave.”
Photos by MATC graphic designer Matthew Ammerman