Green Bay, Wis.—A vision of “education for everyone who wants to learn” while meeting regional workforce demands begins to be more fully realized this weekend, when 1,009 eligible graduates and their families celebrate the 2022 Spring/Summer Commencement, Saturday, May 14, 2022 in two ceremonies at the Kress Events Center.
In addition to awarding bachelor and master degrees in high-demand areas such as business, environmental sciences, psychology, liberal arts, nursing, engineering and education, the University will recognize and celebrate graduates in four new programs:
- First Nations Education Doctoral Program
- Master’s Degree in Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology
- Impact MBA program
- Rising Phoenix: Twenty Manitowoc Lincoln High School students will receive their associates degree diplomas (even BEFORE they graduate from high school), as part of the first cohort of Rising Phoenix graduates.
The ceremony will honor graduates and celebrate with families from all four of UW-Green Bay’s campuses (Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan). This is the University’s 105th Commencement ceremony since its first in June of 1970. About 1,500 students will have received degrees this academic (2021-22) year.
“Regional comprehensive universities like UW-Green Bay should always be evolving to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Seeing the first graduates come through in these new programs, tells us that we are delivering a program array that the region demands,” UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander said. “It is my hope that our graduates will continue to make Northeast Wisconsin the vibrant place it is. As we rise as a university, we rise together as a community and region.”
Morning Ceremony (9:30 a.m.):
-College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.
-College of Health, Education & Social Welfare (including the First Nations doctoral students).
-All Associate’s Degrees from all four campuses (including those from high school also earning their associates degrees through the Rising Phoenix program).
Afternoon Ceremony (2 p.m.):
-Austin E. Cofrin School of Business
-College of Science, Engineering and Technology
Student Speaker Kelsi Engelhardt Blazes Her Own Trail
There still may be those “old-school” types out there. Preferring that higher education stick to the “three r’s” of reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmatic. Kelsi Engelhardt blazed her own path embracing the “three c’s”— community, connection and caring. Engelhardt, a Psychology major, has been selected class speaker for the morning Commencement. Her accomplishments? Lengthy and audible. But an impressive resume doesn’t begin to tell her story. As Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges, professor and chair of Psychology puts it, “the accomplishment that really makes Kelsi stand out is her clear passion for serving as an advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse at Safe Harbor in Sheboygan.” Englehardt speaks from experience, when she suffered a sexual assault in high school, it was an advocate from Safe Harbor who supported her from a hospital visit to the healing process. She is now a full-time employee of the organization.
Read her story.
Best-Selling Author Angeline Boulley Returns to Address Morning Graduates
UW-Green Bay is thrilled to welcome Angeline Boulley back to UW-Green Bay. The New York Times bestselling author spent time in UW-Green Bay classrooms and at a public presentation in October of 2021. Boulley, an enrolled member of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, is a storyteller who writes about her Ojibwe community in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She is a former director of the Office of Indian Education at the U.S. Department of Education. Angeline lives in southwest Michigan, but her home will always be on Sugar Island. Firekeeper’s Daughter is her debut novel, and was an instant #1 NYT Bestseller.
Afternoon Student Speaker Jordan Cioni Rekindles His Passion for Mathematics; Finds His Flock
These days, strolling out of UW-Green Bay with a degree in engineering is a very good thing. With the rapid growth of high-tech manufacturing in our region, most graduates can just keep walking into extremely well-paying jobs and flourishing careers. But Jordan Cioni marches to the beat of his own sine wave. “Once I polish off this engineering degree it’s off to River Falls,” Cioni says. To pursue a degree in physics. Physics? While one of the most elegant of intellectual pursuits, (Cioni calls it “the science of all sciences”), physicists typically do not command the income-generating potential of engineering. And there are a lot fewer of them. So why did he major in engineering? Because a research experience with Professor Jagadeep Thota was too good to pass up. “I’m working with Professor Thota researching shock mitigation,” he said, temptingly described in the professor’s bio as the analysis of structures under severe loading conditions such as explosions and projectile impacts. Does that mean they get to blow things up? “We do not. I was kind of hoping we could.” They’ve had to rely on computer simulations and equations. While at UW-Green Bay, Cioni rekindled his passion for mathematics, found his footing and his flock (other engineering students). But at this moment, Cioni is convinced it wasn’t just science that saved his college career, but UW-Green Bay’s spirit of community. “I really credit this school, all the people, all the professors, all the students for creating this supportive environment that allowed me to grow, make better decisions, and have a lot more hope for this future.”
Read his full bio.
Second-Ceremony Speaker Richard Gochnauer Connects Service and Leadership
An international businessman with a passion for service and leadership will share his life experiences with UW-Green Bay’s Spring/Summer Commencement Class of 2022. Richard Gochnauer is currently managing partner of a Venture Capital firm focused on creating a vibrant innovation ecosystem and good jobs in Southern California. He retired in May of 2011 as chief executive officer of Essendent, the leading wholesale distributor of office and business products in the United States. The longtime business leader who has roots in Wisconsin but resides in California, has a heart for leadership and for providing opportunities for others to succeed. He is the co-founder of the CEO Leadership Alliance-Orange County—bringing together CEOs from the County’s largest companies, who believe that engagement and collaboration are their responsibility as they seek to build a thriving community for all.
OTHER COMMENCEMENT HIGHLIGHTS…
UW-Green Bay’s First Doctoral Candidates Will Graduate
Four students will receive UW-Green Bay’s first doctoral degrees this spring — the Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) in First Nations Education: Yekuhsiyo Rosa King, Crystal Leah Tourtillott Lepscier, Artley Murray Skenandore Jr. and Vicki Lee Young. The Education Doctorate (Ed.D.) in First Nations Education is a program devoted to the revitalization of Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Indigenous teaching and learning is grounded in the time-honored oral tradition. Oral scholars and academic faculty collaborate and co-teach the Ed.D. courses.
Manitowoc Lincoln Students are First ‘Rising Phoenix’ Cohort to Graduate High School with an Associate’s Degree
Students from Manitowoc Lincoln High School will receive their UW-Green Bay Associate’s Degrees even before they cross the stage at their own high school commencement. They are members of the Rising Phoenix cohort, earning their associates’ and high school degrees, simultaneously. It’s a great head start. One member of the cohort, Nadia Neziri discusses her challenges and victories.
See her story.
A Conversation Sparked a Career Path for AnnaBomber in New Psychology Master’s Program
A recent graduate in Psychology, it was a conversation with UW-Green Bay Prof. Alan Chu that changed Anna Bomber’s career trajectory. “I was graduating with a degree in Psychology, and I could only see counseling or research as the next step, but I wasn’t really interested in either of those,” she said. “In one of my classes, Dr. Alan Chu talked about the new master’s program he was starting… I registered for the next semester’s classes, and I was hooked.” That was two years ago. This month, Bomber and a dozen of her peers will graduate as the first cohort of students in the Masters of Sports, Exercise, and Performance Psychology (SEPP) program. It’s also the first master’s program offered in UW-Green Bay’s College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences (CAHSS).
See her story.
Impact MBA was Perfect Course for Menasha Corp Executive Jennifer Twombly
Jennifer Twombly felt that getting an MBA would help her transform employees’ work lives, but she didn’t expect it to transform her own. A 14-year employee of Menasha Corporation in Neenah, Wisconsin, Twombly wanted to take her existing skill sets and experiences and expand on them in order to lead her company on a journey of transformation. Currently the vice president of Human Resource Transformation, Twombly wanted to expand her strategic leadership capability, learn how to leverage technology, and gain exposure to new and different skills to better enable the organization to improve its employees’ work experiences. Enter the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Impact MBA. Unlike traditional MBA programs, the Impact MBA focuses on new ideas and new technologies like interactive Artificial Intelligence (AI), marketing personalization, supply chain sustainability, and social responsibility—in an online and in-person hybrid model. Twombly said the program was the right fit, not only for her busy life, but for her company’s people-driven work culture.
“What set apart the UWGB Impact Executive program was the fact that I felt it really centered on developing strategic leadership skill sets to be able to lead in a purpose-driven manner in a digitally-enabled global society and business community,” she said. “That to me was the distinction. It aligned not only with who I am and my purpose in life, but also, I think, in being forward-looking and developing the progressive leadership skill set to be successful, not just today, but in leading the next generation workforce into the future.”
Pandemic Provides New Skills; Resiliency and a Job Offer Before Graduation
Like her peers, Brittany Cassidy’s undergraduate experience didn’t go quite as planned. In fact, the pandemic created obstacles unknown to previous generations of college students. But it also provided a resiliency, and preparation for a new job market. Before the pandemic Cassidy attended in-person classes on campus. Immersing herself in clubs and activities, she based her schedule around her classes, she said. When the pandemic forced the University to switch to virtual classes, Cassidy moved back home to her parent’s house in Allenton, separating her from friends, classmates and professors, and disrupting her college experience.
“I had to rework my entire schedule in order for it to work with my life and my new modes of instruction,” she said… “It was a big challenge, but I wanted to keep doing school; I wanted to be successful,” she said. “So, I just did what I could and tried super hard and dedicated a lot of time throughout my day to school. I would say the change was pretty drastic. It wasn’t easy for a lot of students, but I would say that I adapted fairly quickly.”
When the opportunity to return to classes came in the fall of 2020, Cassidy took it. By spring however, she was back to all online classes. She found an internship with Kohler. Working with the social media marketing for the company’s Kallista brand—running Kallista’s entire Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest accounts—creating posts, engaging with followers, responding to messages and managing partnerships with social media influencers who use the company’s products and then promote them. She accepted a job offer from the company before graduation. Like many of her Phoenix peers, Cassidy chose to rise.
See more of her story.