Hribar Tells UWP Grads: Embrace Education

Published: May 20, 2014

"It isn't where you go to college that is predictive of whether you are successful at work and happy in life. Rather, it matters what you do in school." That was the message from Raymond, Wis., resident Tracy Hribar during spring commencement ceremonies at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside Saturday.
Hribar referenced a recent national Gallup-Purdue University poll that attempted to measure the value of a college degree by measuring the well-being of graduates at work. Hribar delivered her message as the featured commencement speaker and was honored with the Chancellor's Award recognizing the university's top graduate.   

When Hribar entered UW-Parkside three-and-a-half years ago, she admitted her goal was to "get in, get it done, and get out." Hribar was returning to school many years after earning an associate's degree in accounting from Milwaukee Area Technical College. She said she did not plan to get involved in student activities. "I was terrified of returning to school," Hribar told the graduates and thousands of their friends and family in attendance.   

In stark contrast to her initial plan, Hribar became very involved. In 2012, she was appointed the nontraditional student representative to the UW System Board of Regents by Gov. Scott Walker. Saturday, she described her classmates as amazingly diverse, unbelievably hard working, and able to juggle many facets of life. "I have been in class more than once with a student who seemed exhausted," Hribar said. "I would think, 'What's this, I'm the old person here?' What I soon realized, was that the person worked full time, often third shift, and still managed a full course load.   

"My respect for my fellow students grew in ways I could never have imagined."   

Australian Consul General Receives Honorary Doctorate 
During the morning ceremony celebrating graduates from the university's College of Business, Economics, and Computing, and from the College of Natural and Health Sciences, Consul General of Australia to Chicago The Honorable Roger Price received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree. Price has been instrumental in building opportunities for student and faculty exchange between UW-Parkside and the University of Western Sydney.   

Worldwide Audience 
In addition to those in attendance, both morning and afternoon ceremonies were streamed live on the internet. During her opening remarks, UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford provided graduates with a view of themselves, from her perspective, when she snapped a photo from the podium and posted the shot on Facebook and Twitter. "As I look out on this, the 2014 spring graduating class of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, I wonder what roles you will play in building our vibrant society," Ford asked the group. "From my perspective, I see a tremendous amount of potential.   

"Today we hand each of you a diploma, and with it the responsibility to carry the great legacy of UW-Parkside alumni forward, and contribute to the betterment of our society."  
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