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Student speaker Putnam ’18 challenges peers to seek more knowledge, more kindness, more love

Lauren Putnam (Human Biology), was the Graduating Class Speaker for UW-Green Bay’s 2018 Winter Commencement Ceremony. A leader in her class and in the organizations that she works within, Putnam strives to lift up fellow students and up-and-coming high school students, to show them the careers and opportunities available in the health care fields. In her speech, she tells her peers that together, they have the capacity for more. See her remarks:

“To my fellow graduates: today we reflect. Reflect upon not only the sleepless nights, the shed tears and depleting bank accounts, but also the amazing friends and connections we have made at UW-Green Bay. Today marks a new beginning — our inaugural season. Some of you may be starting exciting new jobs and others may be going on to graduate school where you can advance your field of study. But as we move forward from UW-Green Bay, I think it is important to never forget where you came from; the people that have helped you along the way. I especially want to thank my friends, my supportive family, my faith community and the incredible faculty and staff in the Human Biology program. Thank you.

Rather than speak about my personal life, I want to focus on you all. Focus on the sacrifices you have made to be here as a college graduate. Sitting among us today, 54 percent of you are first generation college students. You all have advocated for yourselves and your education, navigating the arduous process of applications and financial aid. For that, I am so immensely proud of you. One percent of you are international students. You have made many sacrifices in order to achieve a better education. Unequal opportunities and barriers to success are everywhere; yet here you are, at the pinnacle of your educational career thus far. I hope that you continue to inspire your family, country, and community in whatever kind of work you choose to pursue. Six percent of you are veterans. Your courage, dedication, and commitment to serve our nation are appreciated. Thank you so much for your service.

While I don’t have the statistics for those of you who are married, engaged to be married or have children, I want to commend you on the tremendous love you have shown your spouses, fiancées and children. I cannot even begin to imagine the immeasurable sacrifices you all have given in the name of your education and family. Your love and endurance inspire me. There are so many other situations that I would love to recognize, but simply don’t have the time today. I just want you all to know that I understand the challenges you have overcome to be here. You are truly incredible. A big thank you goes to Dr. Jacobson with the Office of Institutional Strategy and Effectiveness for assisting me in acquiring the statistics used today.

Ephesians Chapter 3 Verse 20 states, ‘Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than we could ever ask or imagine…’ This verse has inspired the ‘Always More’ campaign by Audrey Roloff and affected people worldwide, including myself. Audrey’s campaign has revolutionized the way I live my life and before we depart, I want to leave it with you all.

The hard work and dedication that you all have displayed throughout your career here at UW-Green Bay should not stop today. As we move on, I urge you not to become stagnant in your lives. Remember the obstacles you have overcome to be here today. Remember that there is always more that you can do for your community.

Always more knowledge to gain.
Always more kindness to be had.
and always more love to give.
There is always. . . more.”

Congratulations Class of 2018!