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People who make a difference: Garry Moïse

‘When I work with high school and college students, I see me’

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September 5, 2023

FOND DU LAC – Garry Moïse, an international business instructor and the director of the Upward Bound Math and Science program at Marian University, said his personal mission and vision in life can be summed up in his desire to contribute positively to the growth of others.

“My dream is to provide the smallest contribution that I can, in whatever capacity to help others fulfill their own dream,” he said.

Born and raised in Haiti – a Caribbean country on the island of Hispaniola – Moïse was a first-generation college student when he arrived at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in 1998 as part of a study abroad program.

After graduating with a degree in quality management (now called quality engineering technology), he returned to Haiti to apply the skills he learned.

Moïse returned to Northeast Wisconsin a handful of years later to pursue a bachelor’s degree in management and marketing and later a master’s degree in organizational leadership at Marian University.

The professional opportunities offered to him through Marian University after graduation, Moïse said, were major factors in his decision to remain in the states and the Northeast Wisconsin region after graduation.

“Marian has five core values – community, learning, service, social justice and spiritual traditions – that are very human-focused and are well in line with my own philosophy of life,” he said. “Overall, multiple types of experiences at Marian have helped me solidify who I am and who I can be professionally.”

Today, Moïse said his work as director of the Upward Bound Math and Science program allows him to open doors for the next generation, which were once opened for him.

Paying it forward
The Upward Bound Math and Science Program at Marian, Moïse said, is part of the federally-funded TRIO grant, which provides college and career preparation for students who would be first in their families to pursue a college degree – a life experience Moïse said he knows all too well.

“I want them to know about opportunities available to them,” he said. “I want them to understand the world better outside of their immediate circles.”

Garry Moïse currently serves as the director of the Upward Bound Math and Science program at Marian University. Submitted Photo

Moïse said the program serves a population that may not think certain things are for them, particularly the pursuit of a college degree.

“When I work with high school students and college students through the program, I see me,” he said. “Although I went to college in the United States, there were so many things I didn’t know – that’s what drives my passion to help them, to be a guide for them to provide those resources.”

As a self-proclaimed “life cultivator,” Moïse said he encourages students to be curious about their career choices – because it’s through exploring that interests are discovered.

Continued Haitian connection
Though Moïse has called Northeast Wisconsin home for nearly 25 years, he said his home country has and always will hold a special place in his heart.

Even today, Moïse said he does what he can to positively impact Haiti and Haitian communities.

“I do some volunteer work remotely that helps support Haitians both living in Haiti and abroad,” he said. “Over the past few years, I have often provided managerial and leadership counsel to community-based organizations.”

Moïse said he has also served as a guest speaker or panelist for some youth groups’ virtual gatherings.

“I present a bi-weekly online radio show in Haitian Creole on leadership matters for Christian professionals,” he said. “I also host a podcast in Haitian Creole for young Haitian professionals who are interested in personal growth and leadership development.”

Though thousands of miles away, Moïse – who last traveled to his home country in 2017 – said it’s important to him to continue to have a strong presence in the lives of young Haitians.

“I speak with groups of young people, share the knowledge I’ve gained and help them realize their goals and dreams as well,” he said. “So, while I don’t travel there often, my connection to the country and its people is still strong.”

Other volunteering
Over the years, Moïse said he has been involved with a variety of community organizations.

Whether it’s been as a board member, volunteer or mentor, Moïse said the work he does in the community is an extension of the work he does at Marian – all aimed at helping those around him accomplish their own goals.

Organizations Moïse is or has been involved with over the last two and a half decades include:
Sophia Partners (Sophia Foundation)Fond du Lac STEM AcademyWisconsin Association of Educational Opportunity Program PersonnelEducational Opportunity AssociationYoung Professionals of Fond du LacEbony Vision
In addition, Moïse has been involved in a handful of community initiatives, including the Drug Free Communities of Fond du Lac County.

Moïse said he is also committed to helping others in their spiritual journey through his involvement in various religious initiatives.

He frequently leads Bible studies and delivers sermons at his local church as an ordained church Elder.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award
Moïse was recognized earlier this year when he was named the 2023 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award recipient by Marian University – which recognizes a person or group who has given of themselves to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and has gone above and beyond in the endeavors of equality, social justice and providing access to succeed.

Garry Moïse, left, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Spirit Award nominator, Kathleen Candee – the senior vice president for advancement and alumni relations at Marian University. Photo Courtesy of Marian University

“I don’t do anything I do to be recognized, but it was a great honor to be recognized,” he said. “I always say I work silently – I don’t need a big hoopla or a megaphone for the things I do as long as I know I am helping people.”

Growing up, Moïse said he was exposed to the work of Dr. King by his father.

Having his name mentioned in the context of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, Moïse said, is a huge honor.

“Because he is extraordinary – hundreds of years from now, people will still be talking about the impact he made,” he said. “The fact that individuals in the community can see a little reflection of what I’m doing as part of the vision Dr. King had is a real honor for me. Obviously, I am not on the same level field as him, but in a way, by helping people, I can see it as a reflection of the work of Dr. King. I have more work to do.”

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