Class of ‘10 features 62% 1st-generation graduates
The University of Wisconsin-Parkside celebrated the ultimate campus event with a pair of commencement ceremonies Saturday, May 15. With nearly 500 students eligible to collect diplomas and thousands of family members and well-wishers on hand, graduations were held at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the De Simone Gymnasium of the Sports and Activity Center.
During the morning session, 266 students were eligible to receive their diplomas including master of business administration, master of applied molecular biology, and master of science in computer and information systems students, and bachelor of science degree recipients. Students in the UW-Parkside/UW-Milwaukee consortial nursing program were also honored. During the afternoon program, 216 bachelor of arts students were eligible for diplomas.
Noting that 62 percent of the students eligible to participate in the ceremonies were the first in their families to receive a baccalaureate degree, UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford said that made graduation the fulfillment of a dream not just for students but for their families as well.
"Over the past nine months, I have heard many people talk about how UW-Parkside is a dream come true and today your dream of receiving a university degree has come true," Chancellor Ford stated. "Walt Disney once said, 'All our dreams can come true...we have the courage to pursue them.' To the Class of 2010, congratulations! And thank you for pursuing your dreams at UW-Parkside. We are very proud of you and the accomplishments you have achieved during your educational journey at UW-Parkside."
Chancellor Ford also urged students to become trailblazers in their lives' journeys.
"As a graduate of UW-Parkside, it is my hope that you will carry the banner of lifelong learning as you strive to achieve your personal and professional best," Ford said. "As a UW-Parkside alum, you are ready to meet challenges, solve problems, think creatively, and oblige civic responsibilities in a world brimming with possibilities.
"Class of 2010, as you set new trails, keep going, never stop learning, embrace change, strive for excellence, lead by example, exhibit courage, and most importantly stay engaged with your alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside. Your time as a UW-Parkside student may be ending, but you will always be a UW-Parkside Ranger."
During the program, graduates heard from Racine businessman and UW-Parkside alumnus Michael Harris (business, '82). Harris urged students not to be risk averse.
"The willingness to take risks is really important to the economy and to the development of our world and I think it does great wonders for your confidence, too," Harris told the graduates. "The world really needs risk takers! I am not afraid to fail and I have certainly failed several times. In fact, ask any successful person and they will have a few failures in their past, if they are honest. But the biggest fear I have is not of failure. My fear is not the potential failure from the risks I did take but from the risks I decided not to take."
Harris, who describes himself as a "serial entrepreneur," has founded or was instrumental in creating nearly a dozen companies, the best known being Jefferson Wells, an accounting firm that grew to 23 nationwide offices with 1,800 employees.
"I just love the idea of creating something that did not exist before," he said. "I encourage you to take some professional and personal risks in your life, to stand out from the crowd and to go for it. You will always feel better about yourself if you do take the risk. And when hiring people, I like people who tried something even if it did not always work out. It tells me a lot about their spirit, character and attitude."
In addition to taking risks, Harris offered graduates a dozen personal habits he endorses ranging from "be honest" and "be brave and courageous" to "be a good listener" and "be a good son or daughter." He advised them to "smile and laugh a lot" and to "send people hand written notes" rather than emails or texts. He also urged them to stop and buy things from kids with roadside stands.
"If you want to see pure joy, stop and buy a drink of lemonade or a bag of popcorn and give them a big tip--if they are running a nice operation!"
Harris closed by saluting students and his alma mater.
"Thank you very much and long live Parkside!" he said.
For a look at commencement through the lens of photographer John Bolton, click http://animoto.com/play/UW10uqGCqxZLo0oR8MHg3A?autostart=true