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April 29, 2000

Edgar Resident to Deliver 125th Address

Bridget Finke, a graduating senior who is a double major in speech communication and business administration, will deliver the 125th anniversary commencement address at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls on May 20.

Finke becomes the fifth student to deliver the Spring commencement address in the modern history of the University.

UW-River Falls, which is celebrating its 125th anniversary, enrolls a student body of 5,700 students in its College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences; College of Arts & Sciences; College of Education and Graduate Studies; and School of Business & Economics. It is located in west-central Wisconsin and within the metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

Finke's speech, "Which Bridges to Cross...," will discuss the most notable innovations and events of the 20th Century and the implications they present for the 522 UW-River Falls students who are to become the first to commence in the new century and millennium.

Selection of Finke was the result of an open invitation for all commencing undergraduates to deliver a proposed speech before a committee of faculty, staff and students.

She was supported in her application by emeriti Professor Gerald Matteson of the agricultural education department and a former assistant dean of the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences, and by Professor Suzanne Hagen, of the speech communication & theatre arts department and a former assistant dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.

Matteson noted that he first met Finke when she was a student at Edgar High School, and had "never observed a high school student who was so articulate, expressive and confident." At UW-RF, Matteson recruited Finke to be his student assistant in his Leadership and Group Dynamics class, supervised her as a student worker in the agriculture education department, and advised her in the Agricultural Education Society. Through those experiences, Matteson noted, "I have not know anyone who would be a better Commencement Speaker."

Hagen acted as an academic adviser and professor to Finke, who she found to be an outstanding student. She also supervised Finke's internship with the New Richmond law firm of Doar, Drill & Skow. Said Hagen, "Bridget's perceptive, extremely bright, thoughtful and very articulate. Her classroom oral presentations are of the highest caliber; I really have to work to find suggestions for improvement."

During her University career, Finke was involved in numerous campus activities. These included chairing the Minnesota FFA Judging and Agricultural Technology contest that brought more than 1,000 high school students to campus; representing the University as a judge in parliamentary procedure competitions across Wisconsin; singing in the University Choir; and holding the treasurer and secretary positions with the Agricultural Education Society. Finke also excelled academically, being named to the DeanŐs List for each semester of her career. She also was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi, the national collegiate honor society that recognizes and encourages superior scholarship in all areas of study. It is the highest academic honor a student can receive at UW-River Falls.

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