Vincenzo (Vince) Badalamenti, a psychology major, was chosen to speak on behalf of his graduating class in UW-Green Bay’s December 2016 Commencement ceremony.
Using a six-sided Rubik’s Cube to demonstrate his main point — that graduates have been influenced by six different spheres including parents, family members, friends, co-workers, educators, and even random people — and now it is the turn of those graduating to be the influencers.
“Graduates of 2016, now it is our turn,” Badalamenti charged. “Now it is our time. We should no longer look to be influenced; we should instead look to be influential. We should no longer look to be guided; we should instead seek to guide. We should no longer look only to be taught, but instead should look to become teachers in our own right. We have, with the help of our family, and relatives, and friends, and co-workers, and teachers, and random people, become capable and complete people ourselves.”
His full speech is here:
“Good afternoon class of 2016, and a heartfelt welcome to parents, professors, friends and family who have chosen to spend their time here today? And a special thank you to Chancellor Miller for allowing me to speak in front of you today.
Well, we made it, and we are finally ready to graduate, some of us have been here for four years while others could be doctors by now. I have been told to keep this speech brief. But, I have been told a lot of things in my time here. For example, they told me that for every hour you spend in class, you should spend about two hours outside of class studying. Well that’s just not true apparently no hours of studying outside of class gives you the opportunity to give a commencement speech in front of thousands of people. Some people use a stopwatch, while others use a cell phone alarm, I on the other hand, will be using this rubrics cube. I promise you that I will not speak any longer than the time it takes me to solve this rubrics cube. So get comfortable. That is what you get for raising my tuition every year…
I would like to say a couple of quick thank you’s to the University itself. Thank you UWGB for having tunnels so I don’t have to walk outside in the freezing cold. Thank you for having a beautiful campus in the middle of nowhere. Thank you for having your own bathrooms in the dorms. Thank you to the RA’s for interrupting our fun filled nights, Thank you to public safety for making me understand what 15-minute is not 16-minute parking or 3 hour parking. But I would like to give a bigger thank you to what I feel were big influences in my life and they are immediate family, extended family, friends, co-workers, educators, and random people. Let me explain!
Immediate Family; I had to incorporate my parents because if I didn’t, my job at their restaurant would not be guaranteed. But they are the foundation to my personality, they taught me morals, they taught me to have a good work ethic, and they are the reason I am in college. Next My Uncle Domenic and my Aunt Fara… They are like my second parents. Sometimes I even question if they are my uncle and aunt but rather my spirit animals. They are such amazing people and really have a big heart. They treated me like their own kid and still do, and for that I am eternally grateful.
My friends I have to mention because first they forced me to… but honestly they are my stress relief. They are people I can hang out with and just be myself. They are the reason I do stupid things some times. For example when I should have stayed home and studied for that test I had but instead I decided it would be a great idea to go out with them until 2 in the morning. Co-workers, luckily I have been blessed with a lot of great coworkers but one coworker in particular has helped me through out the years and actually helped me write this speech that I am giving you all today. His name is chad and some say I take after Chad. Of course there is some truth to that statement because I do look up to him and I do mimic his personality and his intelligence because I strive to be more like him.
Than there are Educators, I have one professor that deserves to be acknowledged today for all of his hard work and dedication he has put forth here at UWGB. Dr. Regan A.R. Gurung, he has helped me more than I could ever repay him. He takes time out of his busy day to get to know all of his students. I think I have spent more time in his office talking to him about classes than I spent in his classroom, and that is only a glimpse of the stuff that he does for me. Random People, I know you’re thinking to yourselves how do random people we don’t even know influence us. Well let me explain, I ate out at buffalo wild wings or bdubs as the cool kids call it, and I watched a waitress get yelled at by a customer because the order wasn’t right. I than saw a person from a different table walk up to the server getting yelled at, gave her 20 dollars and said you’re doing an awesome job keep up the good work and keep your head up. That is how a random person I didn’t even know influenced my life and I am sure he influenced a lot of others as well.
I guess my point is we have all been influenced. We have all been guided. We have all been taught. Graduates of 2016 now it is our turn. Now it is our time. We should no longer look to be influenced; we should instead look to be influential. We should no longer look to be guided; we should instead seek to guide. We should no longer look only to be taught, but instead should look to become teachers in our own right. We have, with the help of our family, and relatives, and friends, and co-workers, and teachers, and random people, become capable and complete people ourselves.
Speaking of complete, do you remember this guy? It takes a lot of parts to make this a complete cube; six to be exact. I think you get my point. Thank you, good night, and good luck to you all in your future endeavors!”
Vincenzo (Vince) Badalamenti, a psychology major, has been selected to speak on behalf of his graduating class by a committee of UW-Green Bay faculty members and administrators. He was nominated for the honor by Professor Regan Gurung and several colleagues in Human Development and Psychology: Kris Vespia, Georjeanna Wilson-Doenges, Sawa Senzaki, Christine Smith, Jason Cowell and Joel Muraco.
Prof. Gurung recalls noticing Badalamenti as a freshman in one of his first-year seminar classes. “I was so impressed with his performance, demeanor and love of life and learning, that I served as a reference for him after one semester for a local internship. I normally only write letters for students I have known for three to four years. That was only the beginning.”
Described as a hard-working, motivated student, Badalamenti’s college career has been action-packed and impactful. He served as both a research assistant and a peer mentor in the Psychology department, working with faculty and fellow students to contribute to his field of study. A skillful, accomplished researcher, Badalamenti presented at the University’s Academic Excellence Symposium in 2015 and presented four research projects at the Midwestern Psychological Association Conference in 2016 — a significant accomplishment for an undergraduate student.
Badalamenti has worked on and off campus to help fund his college experience, including time as a statistics tutor, an entertainment coordinator for Good Times Programming and as a bar manager. A member of the Psychology Honors Society program, Psi Chi, he took the initiative to create a new position within the organization, coordinating the travel, accommodations and attendance of 40 fellow students attending a psychology conference. His academic honors include being named to the Deans List six times, twice with highest honors. Badalamenti was named Psychology Student of the Week and was one of the first recipients of the department’s Psych Rising Star Award in 2015.
His service to the Green Bay community includes volunteering as a big brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, working at a food pantry and regularly visiting nursing homes.Nominated for both the University Leadership Award and the Chancellor’s Medallion Award, Badalamenti is one of seven graduating seniors selected to receive the Chancellor’s Leadership Medallion, presented December 16 in a ceremony on campus to recognize sustained academic and community achievement.
According to Professor Gurung, “There are few students who shine as he does. He is a role model for students, especially other men in the program. He takes instruction well, asks for clarification as needed and executes. This is a man who will go far.”
Upon graduation, Badalamenti is applying to graduate school for a Ph.D. in clinical and counseling psychology.