Record Graduations Continue at UW-Parkside

Published: May 9, 2022

Chancellor Ford Commencement

SOMERS, Wis. – For the third consecutive year, a record number of University of Wisconsin-Parkside students are eligible to participate in the spring commencement ceremony. More than 500 graduates will be honored during the 2022 event on Saturday, May 14.

“Education is one of the keys to transforming lives," said UW-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford. “But, that is only half of the equation. Historically, Kenosha and Racine have been centers for innovation. To continue that trend, our region needs more graduates.”

In 2018, as part of the UW-Parkside strategic framework, the university announced a bold goal of significantly increasing the number of graduates by 2025. Provost and Vice Chancellor Rob Ducoffe says that important goals such as this help the university establish priorities.

“At UW-Parkside, we actively seek input from a variety of sources – our students, our alumni, our faculty and staff, and community and business partners – to ensure that our academic programs are relevant and prepare graduates to be valued contributors on day one,” Ducoffe said.

Over the past five years UW-Parkside has added or modified more than 40 academic programs—master’s programs, undergraduate majors and minors, concentrations, and certificates.

Just one example are the strategic partnerships UW-Parkside developed which have enabled the university to offer a larger array of master’s programs. Two years ago, 55 students earned a graduate degree. This year, the number has more than doubled with 120 students receiving a masters.

“The online M.B.A. program has been extremely popular, in part because it allows students to earn the credential in a way that fits their busy schedules,” Ducoffe said. “Other graduate programs such as sport management, and clinical mental health counseling continue to grow as the need for that talent increases.”

While the number of graduates is a key focus for UW-Parkside, so is answering the challenge of equity gaps that exist in higher education. “On a national scale, with our partners Carthage College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Milwaukee Area Technical College, we formed the nation’s first regional consortium to eliminate equity gaps in higher education by 2030 with the help of EAB’s Moon Shot for Equity program,” Ford said. “This initiative is one of the ways we are being intentional about increasing the number and diversity of baccalaureate-degree holders in our area.”

For graduation rates and the number of graduates to grow, there must first be affordable access to higher education and more pathways for student success. Ford says long-standing partnerships with Gateway Technical College are recognized across the state as innovative and forward-thinking. “In October, the UW Board of Regents approved a first-of-its-kind academic pathway that allows Gateway, together with UW-Parkside, to offer associate of arts and associate of science degrees,” she said. Partnership programs, like these create more opportunities for students to achieve their educational goals.

Ultimately, it is about the number of students who successfully complete their UW-Parkside educational journeys and then use that talent for the betterment of communities in southeastern Wisconsin and beyond.

“Commencement is my favorite day on campus,” Ford said. “I’m proud and honored to say ‘Congratulations!’ to every graduate as they cross the stage.”

Even if she says it more than 500 times.

The University of Wisconsin-Parkside is committed to high-quality educational programs, creative and scholarly activities, and services responsive to its diverse student population, and its local, national, and global communities. We are a dynamic learning community grounded in academic excellence and focused on student success, diversity, inclusion, and community engagement. The campus serves as a premier comprehensive public institution and a destination of choice, serving as a focal point of local, regional, and global progress.

Media Contact: 

Tannette Elie
Executive Director of University Relations 
University of Wisconsin-Parkside 


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