LMC Student to Share Personal Story at 2017 Commencement

May 03, 2017
Lifase Bilima of Berrien Springs has been selected as the student speaker for Lake Michigan College’s 70th annual commencement exercise being held at the LMC Mendel Center on Sunday, May 7, at 2 p.m.

Bilima will graduate with an Associate in Applied Science in early childhood education.

Lifase Bilima’s trip to her parents’ homeland of Malawi, Africa, when she was 18 gave her a renewed commitment to education – her own and others’. Her visit and the change in perspective she acquired there inspired a book – Returned to Restore: Experiencing and Giving Back to My Roots – that she wrote and published while attending Lake Michigan College to study early childhood education.

Born in Berrien Springs, Bilima’s choice of school was obvious to her because so many of her family and friends have graduated from LMC, including her mother who has a nursing degree from the college and is a registered nurse.

Bilima is graduating with an Associate in Applied Science in early childhood education, a field that she says will further her mission to help others, and is also personally rewarding: “I think it’s great and fun to see children grow at that stage as they’re preparing to get into the kindergarten and elementary phases of their lives.”

She credits Program Director Erika Milovich, whom she refers to as “an angel,” with encouraging her in her field and helping her to navigate a college schedule around her busy personal life.

Milovich was also impressed by her student. "With her sincere commitment to reach out and help others, Lifase has been an exceptional student and will be a great teacher,” she said. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Lifase and look forward to her accomplishments in the field of Early Childhood Education."

Bilima plans to continue her education at Western Michigan University in child and family development while teaching at a preschool.

While at LMC, Bilima was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the community college honor society. She was also recognized for her book in Women of Distinction Magazine in 2016, and has been active in leading church youth groups and singing around the community.

The student commencement speaker is selected each year by a panel of LMC faculty and staff members from among those graduates who enter the annual commencement speaker competition.