MOLINE -- While balancing jobs and raising a family, Trampus and Anne Budde, of Bettendorf, found time for something else -- doctoral degrees.
Anne Budde graduated with her doctoral degree in education last May from Western Illinois University-Quad Cities; her husband received his on Sunday during the university's combined graduate and undergraduate commencement cermonies at the i wireless Center.
Both work at the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency in Bettendorf. Mr. Budde will be the new principal at Pleasant Valley Junior High starting this summer.
"The biggest challenge is to try and find a way to connect every kid's educational opportunities," he said. "Trying to reach every kid is an ongoing challenge."
The two met while teaching in Davenport. They will be married for 13 years come July. Mrs. Budde said priorities and discipline helped them get their doctoral degrees.
"Our priorites are family, work and education," Mrs. Budde said before adding, "and doing laundry. We wake up early every day just to get those types of things done. I wake up every day at 4:30 a.m."
But the two said their journey was worth it.
Others among the 240 graduates at the Quad-Cities campus include WIU's first-ever engineering degree graduates. Derek Bloomfield, of Viola, and Blake Widick, of East Moline, said they felt honored.
Their teacher, William Pratt, Ph.D., director of the WIU-Quad Cities' School of Engineering, said the program is going great.
"The students are great and the support from the community is fantastic," Mr. Pratt said. "If it wasn't for John Deere and the Moline Foundation, and other companies, such as Sivyer Steel, we wouldn't be here today."
In Spring 2009, WIU-Quad Cities received a $1 million gift from the Moline and John Deere foundations to assist with funding the program. Western began offering a bachelor of science in enginnering in 2009 at the Caxton Building, which is an extension of the WIU-Quad Cities 60th Street Campus.
According to WIU, the engineering program is scheduled to relocate to the Riverfront Campus upon completion.
Also leaving WIU on Sunday was outgoing president Al Goldfarb. He told graduates to savor and enjoy each moment of life's celebration, adding that such moments pass by "so quickly."
He also gave praise to Jack Thomas, current provost and academic vice president, who will become the university's 11th president on July 1.