Author Archives: Janet Bonkowski

Capping off their degrees

UWGB Phoenix motarboard

After four years (more or less), every college student has a few things to say about their motivation, inspiration and aspirations. Mortarboard messages were in abundance at Saturday’s UW-Green Bay Commencement Ceremony as students once again used their heads to share messages of gratitude and more with family, friends and faculty in attendance at the University’s 99th Commencement ceremony. Here’s a sampling of how students capped-off their degrees:

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

– Photos by Dan Moore and Liesl Sigourney, Marketing and University Communication

Parting thoughts from UW-Green Bay grads, mortarboard style

Avo-grad-o grad cap design

They’ve become as much of a UW-Green Bay Commencement staple as gowns and grandparents. Mortarboard messages provide creative and enterprising graduates an opportunity to share a parting thought with family, friends, the University and the world. They bring tears, laughter and sometimes mystery to those reading what’s in the minds and hearts and on the heads of today’s college graduates. Here’s a sampling of what the UW-Green Bay Class of 2018 shared with those attending 2018 Winter Commencement at the Weidner Center on Saturday, December 15, 2018:

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

– Photos by Dan Moore and Liesl Sigourney, Marketing and University Communication

Soaring on their own: More than 400 students graduate from UW-Green Bay


The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay proudly bestowed bachelor’s and master’s degrees on more than 400 students during the University’s Winter 2018 Commencement on December 15, 2018 at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. The vast majority of this semester’s graduates are Wisconsin residents, with a good portion choosing to stay, work and invest in Wisconsin. Among the graduates, 110 transferred into UW-Green Bay from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, showing the power of higher education partnership in Northeast Wisconsin. The University also graduated its first (5) students in the Master of Science in Health Management program, meeting the state’s increasing demand for health care professionals. This year’s graduating class includes 425 UW-Green Bay students (390 undergraduates and 35 graduate students) who have applied to graduate at the end of the fall 2018 semester or winter 2019 short-term. The class is almost identical to last year, when the University graduated 437 students. Additional facts about the Class of 2018:

  • 92% are Wisconsin residents and 159 students (37%) are Brown County residents. Much of the class (279) or 63% comes from UW-Green Bay’s new 16-county, four-campus region.
  • Area high schools are well represented, with 43 who are former graduates of Green Bay Area High Schools Preble (17), East (10), Southwest (9) and West (7)
  • Commencing were 26 veterans and 5 international students
  • 54% were the first in their family to attend college
  • Human Development and Psychology lead the way with 50 graduates each; followed by Business Administration, Nursing and Organizational Leadership (46 each) and Human Biology (41)

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

– Photos by Dan Moore and Liesl Sigourney, Marketing and University Communication

Are you ready for some Packers history?

If you thought you knew everything there was to know about the green and gold, the work of some UW-Green Bay students may surprise you.

This semester, the History, Democracy and Justice Studies and Humanities at UW-Green Bay and the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame collaborated on an exciting project to document the history of the Packers as the franchise celebrates 100 years. Students will share their findings during a special open-to-the-public presentation next week.

Student projects cover a wide terrain of Packers history. One created by Grant Fischer, Kilian Carlson, Jamie Stankevitz, Rich Rehberg and Fisher Stathes, for example, explains how the Packers revolutionized professional football by deepening the use of the forward pass. Another, developed by Madeline Cichoki, Gwen Drumheller, Joseph Karrmann, Rachel Scray and Emily Bork draw on the Lyle Lahey cartoon collection to show how the Packers were integral in how Green Bay citizens understood national politics.

Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame curator and historian Brent Hensel co-taught Prof. Heidi Sherman’s Introduction to Digital and Public Humanities and Prof. Jon Shelton’s Craft of History courses. Under the direction of Hensel, Sherman and Shelton, and using primary sources from local archives (including UW-Green Bay’s award-winning Archives and Area Research Center), students from each class combined forces to develop a series of unique digital projects. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, from 5-7 p.m. students will present their original scholarship in the 6th Floor North Club at Lambeau Field. Members of the campus community and the public are invited to attend. Guests should enter at the Bellin Health Gate and events staff will direct you to where the presentations are being held.

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:


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