Author Archives: Janet Bonkowski

December 2017 commencement in photos


It was an epic Commencement Day for the 437 UW-Green Bay graduates, friends and family gathered on campus at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, December 16, 2017. The ceremony included an inspiring and emotional commencement address from a Phuture Phoenix graduate who defied the odds to earn his degree and words of advice for the graduating class from popular UW-Green Bay Psychology Professor Reagan Gurung.

Graduates travelled from coast to coast to walk in the ceremony, including Connecticut and Los Angeles, California. The Commencement grows the UW-Green Bay Alumni Network to more than 36,000 worldwide.

Congratulations, Class of 2017. May the force of your knowledge and education always be with you!

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore and Amanda Jo Danihel, Marketing and University Communication

UW-Green Bay’s December commencement: The most wonderful time of the year


With snow continuing to fall and creating a winter wonderland backdrop, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay held its 94th commencement ceremony Saturday, December 17 at the University’s Weidner Center for the Performing Arts.

“At UW-Green Bay this is not a winter day. It’s commencement day,” Chancellor Gary L. Miller said when asked about the weather and the University’s confidence in moving forward with graduation despite weather conditions.

With up to eight inches of snow falling in the 24 hours leading up to graduation, winter weather and its impact on commencement had been the discussion of administrators and students alike in recent days.

According to commencement planners, approximately two dozen of the 315 students registered and expected to graduate did not attend ceremonies. It is unclear what impact the weather played in those no-shows.

“Safety on a day like today is a top priority,” Miller noted. “With the support of the city of Green Bay road crews, our campus crews and with the family and friends of our graduates using the right caution to make the right personal decisions regarding travel, we felt this day was too important to cancel.”

UW System Regent Margaret Farrow was unable to attend the event due to weather. Chancellor Miller shared her greeting from the Board of Regents, which in part said: “Your university exists because of the determination of the citizens of this region who would not give up the effort to establish this university to serve the population of the northeastern region of the state. In the same way you are here today to receive your degree that represents so much effort on your part and those who supported your effort including your families, teachers, instructors and professors who helped you develop into the person you are today. Be grateful to all of them. Celebrate your success and then get to work growing a great future for yourselves and for our great state of Wisconsin.”

The celebration portion of Farrow’s message was not lost on students, their families and faculty in attendance and on display in this photo gallery.

Click thumbnails to enter slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

– Photos by Dan Moore, Photographer/Videographer and Amanda Jo Danihel, Intern, Marketing and University Communication

Congratulations to all graduates. Go Phoenix!

Winter Storm Bailey Update

As you know, Green Bay is experiencing a winter storm this weekend, continuing through Saturday. At this time, Commencement will proceed as planned. Our crews will be out early on Saturday morning to make sure that campus roads, parking lots, and sidewalks are clear. If the weather does become worse than anticipated, a decision regarding Commencement will be made by 6 a.m. Saturday with a communication to the University community as soon as possible.

Consistent with our Winter Storm Policy, everyone should use their judgment about whether they can safely travel to campus. Nobody who feels it is unsafe should attempt the trip. The safety of you, your parents, grandparents and others is of great concern and we encourage you to discuss with them options for participating in the event, including watching via livestream (details below). If you do not personally feel safe coming to campus on Saturday morning, please stay home. If you decide to travel to campus, please allow extra time.

Information for graduates:

Information for staff/faculty:
Information for faculty and staff participants and volunteers:

  • If you do decide to stay home, please let us know as soon as possible.
  • Faculty who are unable to participate in the ceremony, please contact either Paula Marcec at 920-609-0451 or, or Paula Ganyard at 920-819-5910 or
  • Staff Volunteers who are unable to participate in the ceremony, please contact Jan Snyder at 920-609-1343 or

UW-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller Releases Statement on Upcoming Biennial Budget Discussion

Green Bay, WI University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Chancellor Gary Miller issued the following statement today regarding the 2017-2019 Biennial Budget:

“In the coming months state policy makers will develop and approve the 2017-2019 Wisconsin Biennial Budget. I believe strongly that the future of the Wisconsin economy depends on renewed and smart investments in the state’s public colleges and universities.

Since the Great Recession of 2007-2008, virtually all job growth in the United States has been in jobs requiring a two-year or four-year college degree. Right now, there are 8.1 million more jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree than existed before the recession. The college degree is more important than ever.

For Wisconsin and Green Bay, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is more important than ever.

At UW‑Green Bay we embrace our mission to provide access to the college degree, support the regional economy through innovative business partnerships, develop high impact degree programs and lead in efforts to promote the commonwealth good in our urban environment. A UW‑Green Bay degree is one of the most affordable in the country and one of the very best.

Next week, the Board of Regents will approve a budget request for the coming biennium. That request is shaped by the new UW System strategic plan — 2020FWD: Moving Wisconsin and the World Forward —which is being finalized with input from more than 5,000 Wisconsin citizens who gathered in discussions or responded to surveys about the future of the UW System.

The strategic plan and the budget request directly address the challenges our community has placed on higher education. It shows how to move students toward a degree faster, it sets expectations for how universities mobilize business and the community; it seeks to make the college experience valuable for everyone and it sets forth operational guidelines to ensure that Wisconsin colleges and universities remain some of the most affordable and efficient in the country.

The evidence for reinvesting in UW‑Green Bay and the UW System is strong and can be found in the UW System Accountability Dashboard at We have also attached this important information. I look forward to visiting with many, many of you in the coming months to discuss how to continue to support this most precious community asset.”

About the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit


‘We Stand With Orlando’ Mid-Day Vigil Slated for Wednesday on UW-Green Bay Campus

GREEN BAY – The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Pride Center will hold a “We Stand with Orlando” vigil from 12 Noon to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15 (tomorrow) in Phoenix Park on the campus. The event begins with the Weidner Carillon chiming 49 times for the 49 lives lost in the recent mass shooting. The short program will include comments from UW‑Green Bay leaders, lighting of candles and a musical selection by UW‑Green Bay musicians. Participants are invited to the Pride Center following the ceremony. Media and the public can park at the Kress Events Center.

In an earlier statement to campus, Chancellor Gary Miller noted: “As educators, we bear a special obligation to continue to try to find ways to create a world in which such pointless acts do not take place. I hope we will rededicate ourselves to the cause of peace and the values found in diversity. I hope we can find strength in uniting together in the wake of this tragedy.”

The mission of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Pride Center is to identify and respond to the concerns and needs of LGBTQ students, faculty, staff, and their allies; to provide high-quality support services that contribute to the academic and personal growth of LGBTQ students, faculty, staff and allies; and to offer a safe, supportive, and welcoming environment for LGBTQ people and their allies.

About the University of Wisconsin–Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit


Wanted: Nursing Educators

Video screenshot of Susan Gallagher-Lepak

GREEN BAY – R.N. Susan Gallagher-Lepak gets nervous when she looks into her crystal ball and sees where the nursing profession and regional healthcare needs are headed. The picture isn’t particularly pretty.

“The nurse and nursing faculty workforce shortage ahead have the potential to impact both the quality and availability of healthcare in communities across our region,” says Gallagher-Lepak, a nursing educator herself and chairperson of the Nursing Department at the University of Wisconsin‑Green Bay.

Not having enough nurses to meet future regional demand for healthcare service is one thing. Not having enough teachers to teach nurses and in turn fill that gap is a double whammy. According to the Wisconsin Center for Nursing, Wisconsin could see a shortage of at least 20,000 nurses by 2035—that’s only 20 years away. The lack of nurse educators contributes to the nurse shortage in Northeast Wisconsin and across the state and country. Gallagher-Lepak is working with fellow nursing educators across the state on efforts to change that trend.

Nurses for Wisconsin, a partnership between University of Wisconsin System nursing programs at UW‑Green Bay, UW-Eau Claire, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW Oshkosh and UW-Stevens Point put to work a $3.2 million Economic Development Incentive Grant program a few years ago to address the nurse educator shortage and recruit faculty. The grant supported fellowship and education loan forgiveness programs to encourage nurses to pursue doctoral degrees or postdoctoral training and assume nurse educator positions in Wisconsin. In turn, these nurse educators will teach for three years in a Wisconsin nursing program with the hope they will remain in the state as nurse educators.

“The demand for nursing services continues to grow as we move to a greater focus on preventive care, as well as handle healthcare needs of an aging population,” Gallagher-Lepak notes. “UW-System nursing programs have worked hard over the last decade to grow the number of graduates from nursing programs in the state. We need more nurse educators to continue this effort and continue to increase the number of student seats in nursing programs.”

While the partnership is gaining traction (33 Wisconsin nurses obtained their doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) or their PHD in nursing since the program kicked off in 2013), the effort is only a start to solving the problem of the nursing faculty shortage, not only in the UW System but across the state and nation.

The partnership this week launched a series of videos focused on the urgent demand for nurse educators within the University of Wisconsin System, including Why Consider UW‑Green Bay for a Degree in Nursing Education.

Partners like Gallagher-Lepak and others hope the video series will get the word out about the shortage and attract candidates to the award-winning programs in the UW System. The series includes faculty members, clinical staff and students sharing their personal experiences and highlighting unique aspects of their specific nursing programs. The videos also emphasize the growing demand for nurse educators and encourage nurses to consider this option as a career path.

“Marketing campaigns, like our video series, at the national level that focus on our quality UW System nursing programs and the students and faculty in the colleges and schools of nursing are necessary to compete for the highly sought-after faculty candidates,” said Dr. Linda K. Young, dean of the UW-Eau Claire College of Nursing and Health Sciences and principal investigator on the proposal that led to the UW System grant.

The Professional Program in Nursing at UW‑Green Bay provides an opportunity for the following nursing programs:

  • RN-BSN Completion: Registered Nurses (RNs) holding an associate degree or diploma in nursing can earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN)
  • Nurse 1-2-1: A Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree through the combined resources of UW‑Green Bay and Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College; This program begins in fall 2016 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Leadership and Management in Health Systems 

For more information go to Nursing at UW‑Green Bay

About the University of Wisconsin‑Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin‑Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 6,700 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit


48 and Done. What a Run. Kumar Kangayappan leads his last commencement


UW-Green Bay faculty economist and Professor of Urban and Regional Studies, Kumar Kangayappan, participated in his final commencement ceremony Saturday, May 14. He will be retiring after a 48-year career with the University. Kangayappan joined the UWGB faculty in 1968, the University’s first year offering upper-level courses.

Kumar Kangayappan, 2016 mace-bearer

Kumar Kangayappan,  mace-bearer

The University’s senior-most faculty member, Kangayappan, played a special role in Saturday’s ceremony as mace-bearer. The University Mace — a ceremonial staff signifying authority — was carried to the stage by Kangayappan during the commencement procession. The mace-bearer walks just ahead of the chancellor in academic processions, carrying the heavy, silver art object.

The centuries-old academic tradition is believed to be based on medieval practice when a member of the king’s court would carry an ornate club as a symbol and also a symbolic effort of protecting the monarch.

Prof. Kangayappan first served as the mace-bearer at the December 2011 mid-year commencement. Today’s march represented the 10th and final time he will serve as mace bearer.

Kangayappan taught a full load of courses through this semester and has contributed greatly in terms of institutional and community service. With the five years he taught economics in his native India, his college-teaching career dates to 1963.

UW-Green Bay extends fond farewell to Prof. Kumar Kangayappan

Faculty and staff gathered earlier this week to celebrate and honor Prof. Kangayappan’s and almost five decades of service to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Read more here.

An Inspiring Career of Education, Service and Philanthropy

Dr. Kumar Kangayappan received his M.A. in Economics at Annamalai University in India. After coming to the United States, he received his Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He also holds a M.A. degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a B.A. in Economics from University of Madras in India. Since 1968, he has been teaching at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, where he is currently the University’s most senior faculty member. He previously taught at the College of Rural Higher Education in India, and was a Visiting Professor of Economics at the National Institute of Bank Management in India from 1972-1973, while on leave from UW-Green Bay.

During his time at UW-Green Bay, Dr. Kangayappan has been Chair of Economics and Chair of Regional Analysis several times. While Chair of Economics in 1984, he worked toward establishing the Economics major and minor programs at UW-Green Bay. Kumar has also served on UW-Green Bay’s Founders Association Board of Directors.

His research interests include economic development, poverty, macroeconomic theory and policy in developing countries, India, and Eastern and Western philosophy. He has been widely published throughout his extensive career.

Courses Dr. Kangayappan has taught include Microeconomic Analysis, Macroeconomic Analysis, Intermediate Micro Economic Theory, History of Economic Thought, Money and Banking, Economics of Land Use, Managerial Economics and many more undergraduate and graduate courses. He has also developed several courses that became part of the curriculum in the Economics and Urban and Regional Studies programs.

In 1984, Dr. Kangayappan and his wife, Dr. Sivu Kangayappan, established the Albert Einstein/Mahatma Gandhi Scholarship recognizing exceptional UW-Green Bay students whose work they feel reflects the qualities of Einstein the scientist and Gandhi the peacemaking humanitarian. Additionally, they have established the Drs. Kumar and Sivu Kangayappan Family Endowed Scholarship at UW-Green Bay, and scholarships at Silver Lake College, UW-Manitowoc, and in Coimbatore and Erode in their native country of India.


Founding UW-Green Bay Soccer Coach, Council of Trustees President and Retired Business Executive Lou LeCalsey Receives Honorary Degree at Spring Commencement

Greg Davis, Lou Lecalsey and Chancellor Miller

Shares with Students: “It’s the Soft Skills in Life That Will Shape Your Success”

Few individuals represent the enduring and powerful relationship between community and university than this year’s commencement speaker and Honorary Doctorate Award recipient, Louis (Lou) LeCalsey, III.

In his address to Saturday’s Spring 2016 Commencement audience, Lou shared the “Life Lessons in Practical Leadership and Success Working with and Through People” that he’s personally experienced from a career that encapsulates athletics, the military, business, community and family.

Acknowledging that today’s graduating class is leaving the University with a tool kit filled with both hard skills and soft skills, he noted: “I believe your soft skills of working effectively with and through people to achieve target outcomes will largely shape the extent of your relative competitive success.”

With that in mind, LeCalsey offered graduates seven key thoughts on leading and working through people that he’s found helpful in delivering desired results and success in life:

  1. Leadership is exhibiting behaviors and communicating in a way which promotes people wanting to work together to achieve target outcomes… even (and especially) when under pressure and things are going badly.
  2. Leadership is based on earned respect and trust and never on an organization structure and a job title.
  3. A primary incumbency as a leader is to develop other leaders.
  4. Change is the only constant you will have in your career. Embrace it as an opportunity to refresh and generate new energy toward new objectives.
  5. Always treat your co-workers, subordinates and superiors with the respect, dignity and fairness with which you want to be treated.
  6. When working with others in a team environment there are four rules to remember:
    • First, don’t guess….deal in data and facts.
    • Second, be honest…always.
    • Third , always deal with issues and never with personalities.
    • And fourth , always focus on outcomes and do not get caught up in the minutiae and tasks which lead to the superordinate target outcomes.
  7. Last but most important, have fun! You will spend more time in a work week at your job than at home so you need to enjoy your work…..or look for something else where you can hardly wait to get to the place where you enjoy working and being with your co-worker teammates. Having fun and truly enjoying your work is the primary difference between a job and a career.

See video

LeCalsey is awarded with an horary degree at 00:42:58 and his speech begins at 00:47:40 in the 3:03:22 spring commencement live stream video recording.

About Lou LeCalsey

LeCalsey’s affinity for, and commitment to, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay date back to the University’s early years when the Philadelphia native began putting down roots in Northeast Wisconsin. Working in manufacturing for Fortune 100 Scott Paper, he was eager to stay involved in coaching the sport he loved, soccer.

A 1962 graduate of Franklin & Marshall College (Lancaster, PA), he was a star soccer goalkeeper. In the mid-60s, he became the founding men’s head soccer coach at the UW-Green Bay, with his 1969 and 1970 teams going 22-4-2, ranking nationally, and receiving the University’s first post-season tournament bid in any sport and effectively putting UW-Green Bay athletics on the map during the University’s infancy.

What the University didn’t know at that time was that LeCalsey was just getting started. After a
30-year professional business career with Scott Paper, he moved into the role of President and CEO of Tufco Technologies, a market leader in dry and wet wipes converting and printing. Under his leadership, the Green Bay-based Tufco was reinvented and grew from $12.5 million in annual sales with 65 employees to more than $122 million with roughly 400 employees. Tufco Technologies is now North America’s largest contract manufacturer of branded wet and dry wipes.

During this time of incredible growth for the company, LeCalsey continued to share his time and talents with the University. For the past 18 years his primary non-work commitment has been in serving as the founding Chair of the UW-Green Bay Council of Trustees and, since its inception in 2010 through May 2015, as founding President of the UW-Green Bay Foundation.
The Council of Trustees provides counsel and advice to the chancellor on innovative ideas and initiatives and communicates institutional objectives and goals to the community at large, while the Foundation oversees the development and implementation of friendraising and fundraising plans. Both teams work in tandem to create a margin of excellence for the student learning experience at the University and are critical in the University’s long-term sustainability, growth and service to community.

Retiring from Tufco Technologies in 2012, LeCalsey now provides management consulting (Boston Consulting, LLC and Differentiating Strategies of Oshkosh, Wisconsin) for companies nationwide while still providing additional, unparalleled leadership to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. He remains active as Chair of the Council of Trustees and plays an active role in the group’s Advocacy Committee, charged with advocating on behalf of UW-Green Bay interests with state legislators, the UW-System and regents and community leaders in the Northeast Wisconsin region and the state. He is a highly valued and trusted advisor to the Chancellor and his leadership team. Additionally, he has been a guest lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s Cofrin School of Business.

His accomplishments to collegiate athletics and institutional advancement in Philadelphia and Wisconsin have been duly recognized. LeCalsey was inducted into the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and remains an active supporter of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay athletics, particularly soccer. He was also inducted into the Franklin & Marshall Athletics Hall of Fame in September 2011. In 2001, LeCalsey received the Chancellor’s Award (the University’s highest recognition of community members) for his service to UW-Green Bay as Chair of the Chancellor’s Council of Trustees. He was also the first awardee to be recognized with University of Wisconsin-Green Bay honorary alumnus status, conferred by Chancellor Shepard in March 2003. On May 14, 2016 the University bestowed one additional honor: The honorary degree of Doctor of Law.

Rwandan Native, UW-Green Bay Graduate Student Reminds Fellow Students to ‘Leave No Stone Unturned’

Marc Minani, class speaker

Opportunity can catch you by surprise, showing up in the most unlikely places. So it’s smart to leave no stone unturned. That was just one piece of advice shared by UW-Green Bay Student Commencement Speaker Mark Minani at the Spring 2016 Ceremony at the Kress Events Center May 14.

The graduate student and Graduating Class Speaker has been turning over stones since arriving on campus and Green Bay in the fall of 2014. “The sheer number of connections and contributions he’s made on and off campus are inspiring,” noted Prof. Michael Zorn, Chair of the Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Program, in nominating Minani as a Commencement Speaker.

Marc Minani between mentors John Katers and John Arendt

John Katers, Marc Minani and John Arendt

Minani assisted in the operation of an indoor organic farm, a community-based project that aims to support local markets with fresh produce by using sustainable practices…volunteered for the Richard Mauthe Center…organized and anchored the International Day of Peace, a Climate Change Panel Discussion and a book discussion club that brings together multiple generations…volunteered as a Greater Green Bay Young Professionals Ambassador…served as an interviewee for the Ethics in Business Awards…founded and served as President of the UWGB African Students Club…was an International Designee on the UWGB SUFAC (Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee) and a member of the UW-Green Bay Public and Environment Affairs Council…and visited high schools and elementary schools to motivate kids to attend college through the Phuture Phoenix and Globe Trekking programs.

Minani’s accomplishments are even more profound when one considers the extremely traumatic personal events he experienced in his native Rwanda. “His ability to overcome personal tragedy to become an exceptionally positive individual with a likeable disposition and outgoing personality are noteworthy,” adds Zorn. “So too is his deep desire to address environmental issues while making the world a better place.”

Minani sent off his fellow students with a few other pieces of advice:

 “Working for money is necessary but alone it is not rewarding. However, serving others always brings joy and satisfaction.”

“Let’s never forget the importance of living our lives with passion, courage, enthusiasm and honesty. And whatever we decide to do, let’s be the best at it.”

“You are a Phoenix. You are rising from the ashes. You were reborn with wisdom and strength that creates a light that shines bright to help, encourage and inspire others. Let our exciting journey begin!”

See video

Minani is introduced by Mathew Dornbush at 01:03:14 in the 3:03:22 spring commencement live stream video recording.

More About Marc Minani

This spring, Mr. Minani received an award from the Brown County Conservation Alliance for his active involvement in solving community environmental issues while a student. Indeed, Minani has left a positive and lasting footprint on our campus and our community. Like so many UWGB students, he exemplifies how one person can leave this place better than they found it.

His future career interests are to serve his country and the whole world as an environmental advocate in finding solutions to cross cutting issues as water, energy and food.

Minani received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Economics at the National University of Rwanda in 2013. He received a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy and a Certificate in Environmental Sustainability at today’s commencement ceremony. He was chosen to speak on behalf of his graduating class by a committee of UW-Green Bay faculty members and administrators.

Born in Rwanda, Africa, Minani moved to Green Bay to pursue his graduate studies. For his thesis work, Minani studied the environmental and economic implications of soil conservation practices. His dream: to return to his native Rwanda an expert in ways to maximize crop productivity in his hilly homeland while preserving the environment.


‘Special Coincidence’ has Laona, Wis. Mother and Daughter Both Earning Degrees on Same Day

Nicole and Tanya Babich

Growth of Online Programs for Both Traditional and Adult Students Makes for a New Kind of College Experience

Tanya Babich began her University of Wisconsin-Green Bay college career in the Summer of 2013 as an online student. Daughter Nicole Babich enrolled in her first
UW-Green Bay course in Summer 2014, taking online courses for a few semesters while simultaneously completing her Associate’s Degree at Nicolet Area Technical College.

Tanya is graduating today with a degree in Applied Studies (major: Integrative Leadership Studies); Nicole with a Bachelor of Sciences degree in Psychology. Tanya has stepped on campus only a handful of times to visit her daughter (not to attend classes); Nicole arrived on campus in Spring 2016, experiencing campus life to the fullest in the semester she spent as an on-campus resident.

Their experiences, while different than what most people think of as a traditional college reality, are becoming more prevalent as delivery of higher education is going the way of the digital age. It’s also presented a special circumstance in that mother and daughter are surprisingly-and happily-graduating on the same day on May 14.

When asked questions about their shared college adventure (via an e-mail interview, of course), both Tanya and Nicole had a lot to share.

Tanya Babich (Mother)

UW-Green Bay Career Began: Summer 2013
Degree: Bachelor of Applied Studies Degree
Major: Integrative Leadership Studies

Your path to UW-Green Bay:

I attended Nicolet Area Technical College where I earned my Associate’s Degree. I’ve also taken courses from UW-Platteville and NWTC.

Why did you choose UWGB?

UWGB willingly accepted all of my credits from Nicolet Area Technical College.

Q: How would you describe your UWGB experience?

TB: My experience at UWGB has been great. The professors are helpful and prompt. D2L is user friendly and the library system is amazing.

Q: It’s pretty unique that both you and your daughter are graduating on the same day. Was that a part of your master plan or did things just work out that way?

TB: We knew our graduation dates would be close, but it was mostly by chance. I only took one to two courses a semester, and Nicole finished her Bachelor’s Degree in three years instead of four. Had we done anything differently, we may have graduated college at the same time my youngest daughter graduated from high school. Either way, it’s a special coincidence.

Q: How did it feel to have your daughter going through the same experience at the same time?

TB: We provided a much needed support system for each other. It was an honor to share the experience with her. We learned from each other and pushed each other to excel in our classes.

Q: Did you ever run into each other or meet up on campus?

TB: I am an online student so I was never on campus unless I was visiting her.

Q: Did you ever study together?

TB: We would help each other proofread papers.

Q: Did you ever take any of the same classes, either at the same time or in different semesters?

TB: Both of us minored in Human Development, so a few of our courses were the same. We completed Infancy and Early Childhood a semester apart, but with different professors. We did take one course together, Middle Childhood and Adolescence, in the Summer 2015 Semester; we shared a textbook.

Q: Did you ever have the same professors, allowing you the opportunity to “compare notes” on their personality, teaching style, etc.

TB: Over the years I believe we have shared two or three professors, but it was for different courses, with the exception of the course we took together. We always share our thoughts on our professors and unique assignments we are able to do.

Q: Did your college paths cross in any unique or surprising ways?

TB: I never met my advisor in person, but Nicole bumped into him at a college fair when she was finishing her Associate’s Degree, also at Nicolet Area Technical College. She recognized his name, so after getting some information about UWGB she asked him about me. He remembered a lot of our email discussions, so they chatted for a few minutes. It was cool to hear her describe him for me.

Q: Did you lean on each other for help and support? Who leaned more? Who supported more?

TB: I leaned on Nicole more than she leaned on me. She proofread my papers for me and helped me understand some algebra concepts that were challenging for me. She is a great teacher and very patient. She realized it had been over 20 years since I have had algebra classes and she explained the processes completely.

Q: How easy was it to turn on/off being Mom to a college student versus being a fellow student to your own daughter?

TB: Nicole and I have always had a close relationship. She is responsible, organized, and determined to succeed. She does not need me to be in the mom role very often. When she does, it is easy for me to shift into that role and provide her with motherly advice. She also understands many issues from my perspective when we talk to each other.

Q: What did people say when they heard you and your daughter were attending the same college at the same time?

TB: Most people say it is awesome and how impressed they are with both of us. Not many people know we are graduating on the same day, including my parents. They think they are attending Nikki’s graduation; I cannot wait to surprise them.

Q: What’s in store for life after college for you?

A: I am currently employed at CoVantage Credit Union and I enjoy my work immensely. I don’t plan to make any big changes. I will have more down time to spend outside and pick up a few hobbies once I’m done with all my coursework, though. I also plan to spend more time with both of my daughters and continue to guide them through their educational journeys.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory (or 2) about your time at UWGB?

A: I did visit my daughter a couple of times and she took me through the library. It was unbelievable. I love to read and I was amazed at the size of the library. I was snap chatting the library to all of my friends. I would have loved to have spent more time there.

Q: What will you miss the most?

A: I will miss the interesting books I have been reading for my classes.

Q: What won’t you miss?

A: I will happily say goodbye to discussion boards.

Q: Do you have any advice for other adults who are considering “going back to school” or getting their degree through an online program?

A: I would encourage anyone that is interested in continuing their education to go for it. It takes time and dedication, but it is worth the effort. The adults that hesitate because they don’t know if they can fit college courses into their schedules need to be encouraged to take one or two courses at a time. It is possible to fit college into a busy life and the knowledge is priceless.

Q: Would you recommend UWGB’s online degree program to other people? Why or why not?

A: I would recommend the online program to other people and I have. It is convenient to learn at home during your spare time, it provides a good example for your children, and earning a degree will help you improve your future as well as your families.

Nicole Babich (Daughter)

UW-Green Bay Career Began: I enrolled in my first UWGB course in the Summer 2014 Semester. I took online courses at UWGB for a few semesters while I was simultaneously completing my Associate’s Degree at Nicolet Area Technical College (NTC). Spring 2016 was my first semester on the GB campus, and coincidentally it is also my last semester on campus because I graduate on May 14!
Degree: Bachelor of Sciences Degree
Major: Psychology

Q: Your path to college:

NB: I earned an Associate of Arts from Nicolet Area Technical College and I completed a course at NTC during high school.

Q: Why did you choose UWGB?

NB: A few reasons come to mind: my credits transferred easily, I was more familiar with the area than any other UW college, my grandmother and aunt both graduated from UWGB, and my mom was having a great experience so far when I chose to enroll.

Q: How would you describe your UWGB experience?

NB: My short time with UWGB was a blast. I’m not sad that I only had one semester of the campus life and experience. I actually feel like it was better for me to spend my final semester soaking everything in. I had a wonderful internship with Transformation House this spring and I know I’m going to miss the staff and residents. Even before I “arrived” on campus, my experience was great. Being able to take online courses helped my educational career move forward faster, to suit me best. My professors took a genuine interest in my education, making recommendations for other courses or projects and offering positive feedback. One of my online professors nominated me for a University Award, which I will receive this Friday; it goes to show how supportive the atmosphere at UWGB is.

Q: It’s pretty unique that both you and your mother are graduating on the same day. Was that a part of your master plan or did things just work out that way?

NB: When our required course lists started dwindling down, we both thought we would graduate next spring with my sister, who is graduating from high school. However, I enrolled in an Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate Program last summer from UW-Superior that knocked out quite a few elective requirements. I’ve always taken 15 or more credits a semester as well, so I was able to graduate a year early. Meanwhile, my mom took a few more courses than she normally would in a semester and it just panned out this way. She wouldn’t have participated in the graduation ceremony for herself, but because I’m graduating too she’s doing it for both of us.

Q: How did it feel to have your mom going through the same experience at the same time?

NB: My mom has been taking one to two courses a semester for a very long time. When I enrolled as a college student it didn’t feel like anything changed. The homework never ceased for either of us. It was great to have someone who went through a lot of the same procedures, though. She shared a lot of advice about transferring my credits and saved me the headache of having to “retake” courses. It would have been much more difficult without her.

Q: Did you ever run into each other/meet up on campus?

NB: I gave her the first and only tour of UWGB she ever had this spring. She only takes online courses so she only made it to campus to visit me. I had a lot of fun showing her where I spent my time, and it was cool for her to see where she had been attending college for so long.

Q: Did you ever study together?

NB: We edit a lot of each other’s homework. Sometimes it feels like we were taking each other’s courses after reading all of the material, but we only ever had one course together. We didn’t study together because we shared a book; I would finish my work while she was at her job, and she would finish hers when she came home.

Q: Did you ever take any of the same classes, either at the same time or in different semesters?

NB: We both took Family Development, Infancy and Early Childhood, and Middle Childhood and Adolescence. The latter course we took together in Summer 2015. We promised not to comment on each other’s discussion posts because we would essentially be talking about one another in the life examples. Our professors probably guessed that we were mother and daughter, but we tried to keep our classmates from reacting to it; more comments on a discussion board only meant more responses and work from us.

Q: Did you ever have the same professors, allowing you the opportunity to “compare notes” on their personality, teaching style, etc.

NB: We had maybe two or three shared professors, but not always for the same courses. We would talk about the professors and assignments we especially liked, but for similar courses we discussed how professors modified the coursework. In one case she had triple the work I did because I took an Interim course and she took a regular semester course.

Q: Did your college paths cross in any unique or surprising ways?

NB: I ran into her advisor at a transfer fair. She never met him in person, but she liked hearing about him from me.

Q: Did you lean on each other for help and support? Who leaned more? Who supported more?

NB: We always support each other. She helped me with some questions about transferring credits. I helped her by editing her papers. My parents supported me financially so I could focus on my coursework and my job as a student. I would take care of on-campus business for my mom. I think I leaned more, but I’m sure my mom would say that she leaned more.

Q: How easy was it to turn on/off being a daughter to your mom versus being a fellow student?

NB: I’ve never thought about it in that light. She is never one or the other; she has been both for as long as I remember. I have a super intelligent mom, not a mothering fellow student. We are very similar people too, so I guess it only feels natural that we would both be college students.

Q: What did people say when they heard you and your Mom were attending the same college at the same time?

NB: Most thought it was awesome. In fact, I wouldn’t be completing this interview unless a UWGB staff member thought it was a phenomenal story. The only weird reaction I ever received is when people would ask me, well what is your mother going to be when she graduates? She has a full-time job at a company she has worked at for years, and a family she will always continue to raise. She is going to be whatever she wants, but she will always be superwoman in my opinion.

Q: What’s in store for life after college for you?

NB: I applied to a graduate program in clinical mental health counseling, and I’m looking into a few other programs for the fall. I’ve also applied for a few positions to simply get the practice and to broaden my own choices.

Q: Do you have a job after graduation?

NB: I will continue to work at a resort I’ve been with for almost three years while I wait to hear back from admission departments and continue applying for positions that open during the summer.

Q: Do you have a favorite memory (or two) about your time at UWGB?

NB: It is difficult to pick a favorite because I crammed so many activities into this semester, and everything I did was great. Harry Potter GB Nites, Palette and Pub, Bingo, Celtic Nights, and Can I Kiss You were my favorite events. My favorite memories though, were going to Half Apps with my friends and finding the secret chapel on campus.

Q: What will you miss the most?

NB: I’m going to miss my first and only roommates from UWGB. Gabby and Larissa really helped me immerse myself into student life and they are great friends.

Q: What won’t you miss?

NB: I won’t miss trying to find a close parking space.

Q: Do you have any advice for other college students who might have a parent who’s considering “going back to school” and will be going through the experience at the same time, like you did?

NB: Ask questions; ask your advisor, your professor, friends you know at the campus, past professors, university staff, ask anyone. Navigating the college experience is a million times easier when you have even the simple or “stupid” questions answered; chances are someone else was confused or curious, too.

Try to learn about the courses beforehand. Three credits in three weeks sounds great, but I see so many returning learners get in over their heads because they don’t know what to expect in a college course. The syllabus will say how many hours are a typical commitment, but doing a little more research will help you enjoy your college career.

Q: Would you recommend UWB to prospective students? Why or why not?

NB: I would definitely recommend UWGB. I love the atmosphere, the sense of community, the campus location, the professors, the course offerings, and the support I received.