UW-Milwaukee: More than 3300 students to graduate May 17 at UW-Milwaukee

CONTACT: Michelle Johnson,(414) 229-7490, [email protected]; or Alex Vagelatos, (414) 229-4800, [email protected]

MILWAUKEE — University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s 2105 Spring Commencement ceremonies will be at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., Sunday, May 17, at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, 400 W. Kilbourn Ave.

Invitations to participate in the graduation ceremonies have been sent to 2,482 bachelor’s degree candidates, 700 master’s degree candidates and 138 doctoral degree candidates. Because of the large number of degree candidates, two ceremonies will be held, in the morning and the afternoon.

UWM Chancellor Mark Mone and UW System Regent Regina Millner and President Michael J. Falbo will welcome the participants.

Richard Cox, retired executive director of the Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, will speak at 9 a.m. He is a 1974 alumnus of UW-Milwaukee and received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2001.

MaryAnn Wright, vice president of engineering and product development for Johnson Controls Power Solutions, will speak at 1:30 p.m.

In addition, UWM will confer honorary degrees on Catherine A. Jacobson, president and CEO of Froedtert Health, and Irene Bishop Goggans, an ethnographer and community historian of African-American life in Milwaukee.

Larry Davis, social work, faced serious challenges while growing up in Milwaukee. He’s used that experience to advise the Obama administration on child welfare issues.

Peter Creed and his mother Martha Creed are graduating with their doctorates in nursing. Peter traveled to Malawi to help fight Malaria. Martha discovered how to be a leader in nursing and the community.

Amber Rivard, marketing, says her life changed when she discovered salsa dancing. She’ll leave UWM with a business degree and a hobby for which she has a passion.

Brittany Benitez, psychology, took advantage of numerous undergrad research opportunities and was able to conquer her fear of flying to study in Costa Rica. She will attend graduate school at UWM in the fall.

Anna Yontz, actuarial science and economics, a four-year scholarship recipient and swim team captain, turned her internship into a full-time job as a junior analyst with Corporate Technology Solutions.

Robert-Joquori Brown-Holland, inter-arts, is an aspiring music producer who found creative inspiration in past struggles. “I started UWM with nothing to believe in, and ended with people believing in me,” Brown-Holland says.



Richard C. Cox earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 1974 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where he also earned a certificate of public administration. He served as chairman of the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission and was superintendent of the Milwaukee County House of Corrections for eight years.

As executive director of The Neighborhood House of Milwaukee, he oversaw programs designed to strengthen families, prevent community violence, and create prosperity-building opportunities for at-risk youth.

Cox was the first African American to serve as president of the UWM Alumni Association board. He has served on university committees, such as the UWM Athletic Board of Directors; search and screen committees, including those for chancellor; the UWM Chancellor’s Commission on Public Engagement; and the UWM Strategic Planning Core Team. He received the UWM Distinguished Alumni Award and the UWM Academic Staff Outstanding Volunteer Service Award. Click here for a photo.


MaryAnn Wright leads the global engineering and product development organization Johnson Controls Power Solutions, spearheading efforts to develop new technologies and improve existing ones.

Wright previously served as vice president and general manager for Johnson Controls’ hybrid systems business and CEO of Johnson Controls-Saft. She played a key role in establishing Johnson Controls-Saft as a leading global provider of advanced battery systems.

From 1988-2005, Wright served as director for sustainable mobility technologies and hybrid vehicle programs at Ford Motor Company. In this capacity, she was responsible for all hybrid, fuel cell and alternative fuel technology development. She was the chief engineer of the 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid, the industry’s first full hybrid SUV and also led the launch of Ford’s first hydrogen-powered fuel cell fleet program. Click here for a photo.



Honorary Doctor of Healthcare Leadership

Catherine Jacobson is president and CEO of Froedtert Health, a $1.7 billion regional health care system based in Milwaukee. In partnership with the Medical College of Wisconsin, Froedtert’s health network includes eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center.

Jacobson joined Froedtert Health in 2010 as executive vice president of finance and strategy, chief financial officer and chief strategy officer. She was promoted to president in 2011 and became CEO in 2012. Prior to joining Froedtert Health, Jacobson spent 22 years at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in various leadership roles.

Jacobson served as the voluntary national chair of the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) during the 2009-10 term.

Jacobson also is serving a three-year term on the American Hospital Association’s Section for Metropolitan Hospitals Governing Council, ending in 2017. Click here for a photo.


Honorary Doctor of Community History

Irene Bishop Goggans has been a life-long volunteer, serving varied populations. A member of St. Mathew CME Church, she also serves as chair of Life Membership and Recognition of Church-Women United, a national volunteer Christian ecumenical women’s movement in the United States and Puerto Rico. Additionally, she volunteered for the Red Cross and assisted with fundraising for The Community Chest, forerunner of the United Way.

She is known as the community historian, compiling scrapbooks relating to significant events in African-American and Milwaukee history. Numerous people, young and old, call her for answers to questions about the Milwaukee community and her hometown of Dyersburg, Tennessee. Her knowledge and sensitivity to community needs and ability to share life stories that inspire hope and action make her a valuable community resource who volunteers at least 1,000 hours per year. Click here for a photo.


Members of the media wishing to cover the UW-Milwaukee Spring Commencement ceremonies should enter through the Panther Arena’s main doors and ask for assistance from an usher. In addition to street parking, parking is available in the Wisconsin Center District parking lot, 500 W. Wells St.

About UWM

As Wisconsin’s only public urban research university, UWM has established an international reputation for excellence in research, community engagement, teaching and entrepreneurism. UWM educates more than 28,000 students on an operating budget of $546 million, an amount that does not include federal financial aid passed through to students. The Princeton Review named UWM a “2015 Best in the Midwest” university based on overall academic excellence and student reviews. An engine for innovation in southeastern Wisconsin, UWM’s economic impact is more than $1.5 billion per year in Wisconsin alone.