University of Wisconsin-River Falls

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April 30. 2004


UW-RF Graduating Seniors to Speak at Commencement

For the first time in its history, UW-River Falls will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 15, in the Robert P. Knowles Physical Education & Recreation Center.

Graduates of the College of Food Science and Environmental Studies, College of Business and Economics, and Graduate Studies will be at 9:30 a.m. and graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Professional Studies will be at 2 p.m.

This is the 9th year of having graduating seniors deliver the commencement addresses. Maria McGinnis, a senior from St. Paul, Minn. who is majoring in marketing communications with an agriculture emphasis, has been selected to deliver the 9 a.m. commencement address. Kelly Hendrickson a senior from Cloquet, Minn., majoring in biology with a pre-medicine emphasis, will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

McGinnis and Hendrickson were selected as speakers by Interim Chancellor Ginny Coombs on the recommendation of the Faculty Senate External Relations Committee. All graduating undergraduates are invited to apply for the privilege during spring semester. They must include a letter of support from two faculty members, a résumé, and a draft of their proposed speech. The committee reviews the applications, invites students to deliver their speech in an audition, and then sends a recommendation to the chancellor, who approves the selection and extends the invitation to speak.

McGinnis' speech is titled "Life's Road Map." She will focus on the positive effects of college in shaping a person's life. McGinnis has been involved with Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow and has hosted a weekly agriculture radio show, "ACT on Ag." She has also written for the "Fencepost," a CAFES alumni publication.

She has been active as a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, the agricultural honor society Alpha Zeta, and the honor society Order of Omega. She was also a freshman orientation leader for two years. After graduation, McGinnis will attend UW-Madison to pursue a master's degree in life science communication. Her career aspirations include agricultural broadcasting and teaching.

In recommending McGinnis, agriculture economics Professor Lewis May said, "She is intuitive and understands the big picture, which is something I don't see very often from college students her age."

Hendrickson's speech is titled "Lessons Learned," highlighting the values of a university education including the learning that occurs outside the classroom.

Hendrickson has participated in the Honors Program and Honor's Club and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor society. She also taught an honor's seminar, "Disability Awareness," under the mentorship of the Honor's Program Director Nan Jordahl. Jordahl describes Hendrickson as "the absolute model student representing UW-RF and its honor's program. She's an incredible 'down-to-earth' human being with empathy, enthusiasm, and approachability."

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