University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee: More than 2,000 students to receive degrees at December graduation

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Michelle Johnson, (414) 229-7490, [email protected]u
MILWAUKEE _ The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will award more than 2,220 degrees at its 119th commencement on Sunday, Dec. 16, at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, 400 W. Kilbourn Ave.

The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with Eve Hall, president of the Milwaukee Urban League and a UW System regent, as the featured speaker.

The university will present 1,447 bachelor’s degrees, 616 master’s degrees, 124 doctoral degrees and 37 flexible option degrees. The oldest degree recipient is 68, while the youngest is 20.


Eve Hall serves as president and CEO of the Milwaukee Urban League. Previously, she served as the president/CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Milwaukee, where she led the renewal of the organization.  

While serving as president and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce, Hall raised the required match to launch a Revolving Loan Fund for diverse businesses, and secured over $800,000 in funding support from highly respected local foundations, state government and corporations. Under her leadership, the chamber’s community profile grew and influenced public awareness of the chamber, leading to representation on multiple committees and boards for the organization. 

Hall also served as chief innovation officer for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, where she spent 10 years in various national leadership roles impacting student retention and scholarships and university/school district partnerships promoting postsecondary education.  Other past leadership roles include: vice president of public affairs for Family Service of Milwaukee; Milwaukee Public Schools School to Work administrator; director of Gov. Tommy Thompson’s Milwaukee office and learning disabilities teacher in Tampa, Florida.

She is co-founder of the African American Women’s Project Fund, created to support organizations that promote the well-being of women and girls, and presently serves on the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, MKE United Executive Committee, Regional Transit Leadership Council, Bronzeville Advisory Committee, Higher Education Regional Alliance, Governor’s Task Force on Minority Unemployment and other business/community committees.

Hall has been recognized by the Milwaukee Business Journal as a Woman of Influence in 2013, and one of 16 Business Executives to Watch in 2016, and a Powerbroker in 2017. 

She earned her bachelor’s degree in educational psychology and an educational certification in learning disabilities from Florida A&M University, a master’s in administrative leadership from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a doctorate in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.


The numbers of degrees awarded by UWM schools and colleges are below. The numbers include bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and flex degrees.

College of Letters and Science: 539

Lubar School of Business: 426

College of Engineering & Applied Science: 236

School of Education: 184

College of Nursing: 183

School of Information Studies: 162

Helen Bader School of Social Welfare: 158

College of Health Sciences: 155

Peck School of the Arts: 107

School of Architecture & Urban Planning: 46

School of Freshwater Sciences: 13

Global Studies Interdisciplinary: 9

Joint Programs L&S and CEAS: 3

Zilber School of Public Health: 3


Three students will be featured in videos during commencement and are available for interviews before or after the ceremony.

Parker May
By his own account, Parker May was an average student with no clear direction when he enrolled at UWM after high school. He still hadn’t settled on a major when he enrolled in Chemistry 101 toward the end of his sophomore year. He credits instructor Christine Carlson with changing his view on chemistry, science and education in general. “She proved to me what happened before college did not define me as a student or as a person,” he says. May went on to study abroad in Mexico, win an award for undergraduate research and volunteer as a mentor for struggling students in the Milwaukee Public Schools. An honors graduate in biochemistry, he plans to go on to medical school. 

Alyssa Fischer
Captain of the UWM women’s basketball team, Alyssa Fischer is a star on and off the court. She’s been active on UWM’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and heavily involved in the Athletes in Action/Cru Christian ministry, Ignite Leadership Institute, the Athletic Board Committee and Nonprof-IT, which helps nonprofits in the Milwaukee area with their websites. By completing a double major in psychology and information science and technology in 3.5 years, she will still have 1.5 years left of eligibility for basketball. She plans to continue playing while working on a graduate degree. A Manitowoc, Wisconsin, native, she says going to school in Milwaukee introduced her to diversity, “enlightened my mindset and gave me an entirely new perspective.”

Giselle Irankunda
Giselle Irankunda and her family came to the United States seven years ago as refugees from Congo. She was almost 19 when she enrolled at Milwaukee’s South Division High School. A college pathways program helped her go on to UWM to study civil engineering. With scholarship help, Irankunda has been able to research public transportation issues with Assistant Professor Jie Yu and travel to Germany, Rwanda, Uganda and Congo to gather data. She will begin her master’s in civil engineering at UWM next semester.