11:16 AM

Light the Hoan shines a light on Waukesha County Technical College’s centennial

Students, faculty help code colorful lighting display

Hoan Bridge blue getty

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Friday, April 28, 2023)  -- This Monday – May 1, 2023 – marks the official date of the 100th birthday of Waukesha County Technical College. And in celebration of this centennial milestone, Milwaukee’s Hoan Bridge will be illuminated to highlight the occasion.

The iconic bridge will be lit in a kaleidoscope of colors at sunset and feature three unique light displays developed by WCTC students and instructors, thanks to a little help from coding experts with Light the Hoan.

Earlier this month, 11 students and two faculty (grouped into three teams) received hands-on coding training -- from Michael Hostad, who is a member of the WCTC Foundation Board, a WCTC IT alumnus and cofounder of Light the Hoan, along with Erika Smith, executive director of Light the Hoan – to create a customized light show for the event.

Hands-on Training to Light up the Night

As part of the training, Hostad and Smith provided team members with an overview of the software used to create a light show and then let them choose the colors and sequence that were evocative of their individual WCTC experience, said Alli Jerger, associate dean of Business Information Technology at WCTC.

“We thought it would be a fun way to allow the students to participate in celebrating the WCTC 100th anniversary and be part of something so iconic to our area,” Jerger said, noting students and faculty from the IT Club, Front End Web Development Club and Electrical Engineering Technology program handled the coding.

“All three shows have elements in them inspired by the journey that WCTC has been on over the last 100 years. (Participants) also spoke about transformation and impact, and how WCTC has been a part of their journey and how that will continue past their time here,” she said.

Creating a Sense of Belonging

Smith, Light the Hoan’s executive director, said this unique experience for students and staff is a creative way to honor the College on this important date while combining an IT learning component.

“We believe it creates a sense of camaraderie and belonging within the school and city, and we hope to retain student talent within Milwaukee and the surrounding counties” she said. “We’re excited to continue to demonstrate how Light the Hoan is about more than just lights on a bridge.”

  • The Hoan Bridge is visible for miles in downtown Milwaukee, and the light show is best seen in person (top public viewing spots are at the Milwaukee  Riverfront Boat Launch at 600 S. Water Street and at Milwaukee’s Riverwalk on East Erie Street near the Milwaukee Pierhead Light), but the event will  also be livestreamed -- starting around 7:50 p.m. -- and can be accessed here:

Light the Hoan is a collective of local businesses and civic leaders who have joined forces to illuminate the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge. The lights have become a cultural beacon for the city’s residences since they were first lit in October 2020. The lights create awareness for area non-profits, provide tech and creative experience for young professionals and serve as a source of pride. Learn more.

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 170 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit