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Graduates Step Into the Sunshine After Commencement


MAY 14, 2007--Some 613 undergraduate and 86 graduate students left the commencement ceremony at the Robert P. Knowles Recreation Center Saturday with a perspective of global awareness, service, community and the constant of change as they ventured out into the bright sunshine to start their new lives as alumni of the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Commencement speakers Dana Laufenberg, an animal science major from Blanchardville, Wis., and Nicole Peters, a speech communication major from Clear Lake, Wis., were selected to address their peers and the families and friends of the graduates.

"All of us in black robes today have one privilege in common, that of a college education," said Peters, who addressed the afternoon ceremony which included graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Education and Professional Studies. "To simply benefit ourselves with this would only slow the momentum of the ever increasing global community we belong to. While it might require sacrifice or striving towards the unknown, we have the ability to serve as active citizens in the global community."

Peters spoke fondly of the many unique relationships she developed while a student. "I have developed close relationships with the residence hall custodians, especially Jean, Mars, Cheryl and Debbie. These women have imparted to me the importance of an attitude of servitude. ... They take pride in their job they do and spread laughter to all they encounter. ... I can only hope that in our future endeavors that we are able to bring such joy and enthusiasm to any role we are placed in and to always live a life with an emphasis of serving others just as these amazing women do daily in the halls."

In her speech, "Journeying Through Life," at the morning ceremony to graduates of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, the College of Business and Economics as well as the graduate school, Laufenberg told her colleagues, professors and family and friends of the graduates that adaptability to change is a constant.

"We have witnessed the fastest revolution and adaptation to technology the world may ever see," said Laufenberg. "After graduation we will continue to make our own decisions that will impact every aspect of our lives. We will face challenges that will be more and more complicated. ... We will continue to witness changes that will forever impact our lives.

"After today we don't have teachers guiding and updating us," Laufenberg continued. "It is up to us to decide, to choose, to adapt to the changes coming at us, and to continue setting goals that are much higher than [reaching] the cookie jar Mom stashed on the top shelf."

The graduates were welcomed by Chancellor Don Betz as well as Faculty Senate Vice Chair Ogden Rogers, a professor of social work at UWRF, and 2006-07 Student Senate President Joseph Eggers, a junior political science major from Appleton, Wis.

The 2007 Distinguished Teacher, James Madsen, a physics professor, was presented to the graduating seniors and the 2007 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Dr. John E. Clemons, a retired physician and 1957 graduate of UWRF.

Degrees were conferred by Provost and Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs Charlie Hurt, and Dale Gallenberg, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, Barbara Nemecek, dean of the College of Business and Economics, and Doug Johnson, director of graduate studies at the morning ceremony; and at the afternoon ceremony by Hurt, Terry Brown, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Connie Foster, dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies. Paul Rebholz welcomed each set of graduates into the UWRF Alumni Association.   

The collegiate experience remains more than just academics, Peters told the afternoon audience in her speech titled, "Lessons Learned in the Textbook of Life." "The knowledge that we take with us from this institution transcends beyond ... textbook lessons to things we have learning about ourselves from those with whom we have been surrounded by."

A reception was held in the W.H. Hunt Arena for the graduates, their families and friends and faculty and staff.


Last updated: Thursday, 22-Apr-2010 16:08:19 Central Daylight Time


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