Fox-11 did a nice job in capturing Saturday’s commencement for Jared Spude, the political science and Public Administration major selected Outstanding Student of UW-Green Bay’s May 2015 graduating class. They interviewed both Spude, a National Guard staff sergeant who enrolled at UWGB after a tour of duty in Afghanistan, and veterans services coordinator Elaina Koltz. Nice story.
More than 250 people turned out for the May 2015 Honors Graduate Reception hosted by UW-Green Bay Friday, May 15, in the grand foyer of the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. The event welcomed about 80 May graduates who would be graduating the following day with summa, magna or cum laude honors. They were joined by family members in town for the big weekend, and faculty and staff extending best wishes. Speakers during a brief program included Chancellor Gary L. Miller, Dean of Students Brenda Amenson-Hill, outgoing SGA President Vanya Koepke and Alumni Relations Director Kari Moody. Moody said the event, tried for the first time with the December 2014 honors grads, appears to have a bright future as a permanent part of Commencement weekend. The Alumni Association views it as an opportunity to connect with some of its newest members, and the many out-of-town visitors (including some online students who had visited campus rarely if at all) said they enjoyed the opportunity to mingle with members of the UW-Green Bay community.
– Photos by Kelly Selner, Office of University Advancement
We posted about five dozen photos immediately following UW-Green Bay Commencement Saturday (May 16, 2015) at the Kress Events Center. That barely scratched the surface — and didn’t include all that many from the post-ceremony celebrations (see above) — so we’re back with another five dozen or so celebratory images today.
To see our initial images, go to May 2015 Commencement.
Saja Al-Quzweeni beamed with pride on the day she received her master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
She joined more than 700 fellow students in taking part in the ceremony May 16 at the Kress Events Center, but not another newly minted graduate in the record graduating class had quite the same itinerary.
Saja (at right above) was UW-Green Bay’s first Iraqi student and graduate. She plans to return to her home city of Baghdad, Iraq, in a few weeks equipped with optimism and newfound expertise in environmental issues.
“Iraq has many problems today — social, political, economic — but we have the power to address those problems and make them better,” she says.
Before she heads overseas, however, she has a little of the United States to see.
Saja came to UW-Green Bay through the Fulbright Foreign Student program, designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of America and the people of other countries.
Recently, she was one of six ‘Fulbrighters’ selected to participate in the third Millenial Trains Project.
It’s a journey across the United States — leaving from Los Angeles, California on May 21 and ending in Washington, DC on May 31— as an enrichment component of the Fulbright Foreign Student program. The six exchange students will join 20 American riders on the MTP journey to gain an in-depth understanding of life in the United States and to strengthen their skills in leadership, social entrepreneurship, and communication.
During her time at UW-Green Bay, Saja pursued an interest in urban farming and also the conditions that encourage or inhibit citizen involvement in, say, environmental issues.
She worked on her master’s thesis under the supervision of political scientist David Helpap and former professor Dallas Blaney. She chose the title: “Conceptualizing Political Empowerment: Reflections from Non-Governmental Organizations Through the Lens of Civil Society Theories.”
The focus of her Fulbright work will be an extension of research she completed last year at Growing Power, a nonprofit organization in Milwaukee that works in urban agriculture as an approach to increase food security in lower-income and food desert communities. Small plots of land are used for intensive growing to offer healthy and affordable food to inner cities, while merging agriculture and wise environmental practices to revitalize urban areas.
Saja earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Baghdad in 2002, and struggled to find a job amid the chaos of the American invasion of Iraq the next year. She was patient when sectarian tension forced her family out of its home for 18 months in 2007-08, and patient in pursuing her dream to attend graduate school in the United States.
She said she loved the beauty, serenity and friendliness of UW-Green Bay, although the record cold she experienced was a little bit of a challenge.
Saja formerly held a job with the Iraqi government, where she worked as a senior researcher. Whether she will be able to return to government employment is unknown to her at this time. Regardless, she says, she is eager to return to Iraq and work for the betterment of her people.
UW-Green Bay welcomed a record crop of degree candidates to the ranks of official alumni at spring commencement 2015. A total of 975 students completing degree requirements in May or August were eligible to participate; about 725 robed up and marched in the ceremony that drew a crowd of nearly 5,000.
To see more photos, go to May 2015 Commencement, Part II.
– Photos by Eric Miller, Sue Bodilly and Jena Richter, Office of Marketing and University Communication
There were plenty of Keifer Sykes fans in attendance when the senior from Chicago crossed the stage to receive his bachelor’s in Communication at the Kress Events Center Saturday afternoon.
Sykes got enthusiastic applause and cheers from a large contingent of hometown family and friends as well as many in the Commencement crowd of nearly 5,000 who followed his standout career with the Phoenix men’s basketball team.
Two Chicago-based filmmakers were in attendance, as well, keeping their lens trained on Sykes at various times before, during and after the ceremony, to capture the joy associated with the big day.
The men from Full Court Films LLC are making a documentary about Sykes, his life and his underdog bid for college basketball stardom (achieved) and his try at making his mark as a 5-10 player in the big leagues of professional basketball, the NBA (to be determined; Sykes spent the last week at the league’s annual combine working out for scouts, coaches and executives in preparation for the late-June draft).
Full Court Films has been tracking Sykes’ career on and off since the point guard was a prep sensation for Chicago Marshall H.S. They have periodically videotaped segments, interviews and both on-court and behind-the-scenes action over the course of Sykes’ four –year career at UW-Green Bay, where he earned honorable mention all-America honors.
They said Saturday they hope to wrap up the project in the coming year. The pair has previously worked on projects that aired on Spike TV, TLC, HGTV and others.
Jared J. Spude of Sturgeon Bay, the May 2015 recipient of the Outstanding Student Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association, received an extended ovation from an audience of nearly 5,000 at spring commencement at the Kress Events Center.
Spude earned his bachelor of science degree with a near-perfect gradepoint average and summa cum laude, or highest honors, having completed majors in Political Science and Public Administration.
Before the bachelor’s degree was awarded, Spude, seated with his classmates, was asked to stand as Chancellor Gary L. Miller acknowledged the honor from the platform, reading:
Political Science and Public Administration graduate Jared Spude of Brussels, Wisconsin, has been honored by our Alumni Association as the Outstanding Student of this semester’s graduating class.
Just four years ago at this time, Jared was on the ground — active duty — in Nangahar Province, Afghanistan… serving as a “joint forward observer” with the U.S. Army 101st Airborne Division.
In November of that year, he returned to his hometown in Northeastern Wisconsin. He enrolled at UW-Green Bay, and devoted himself to excellence in the classroom… in a variety of student leadership positions…. and in a range of service projects across campus and in the community.
Today, Jared continues his military service as a training instructor with the National Guard at Fort McCoy. It is also my understanding that he is delighted to have recently been offered a position with Breakthrough Fuel.
Ladies and Gentleman, please join me in congratulating Jared for being chosen as the outstanding student of this semester’s graduating class.
Psychology grad Olyvia Kuchta spoke on behalf of her graduating class at UW-Green Bay commencement on May 16 at the Kress Events Center.
She shared her personal story of not being certain she would attend college until she reflected back on one of her final conversations with her father, who died when she was 16.
“It was late in the afternoon and we were driving in the car together. We had never really talked much about college or ideas I had for my future until this moment. He asked me what I wanted to do after I graduated high school and while we discussed it, he told me that no matter what I did, I had to work hard. He told me that he was proud of me, and knew I would do well. I believe that a large reason why I work so hard is to make him proud.”
Kuchta referenced a number of UW-Green Bay professors she considered influential in her college career.
“I was recognized in classes by professors, specifically by Professor Christopher Martin who recognized me as the girl who never put her hand down in Philosophy, Dr. Ryan Martin who invited me to work under his supervision on an internship and honors project, and Dr. Illene Cupit, who allowed me to work consecutively for two years on research with her. I truly found my niche in the Psychology Department and would not be the person that I am today without their guidance and unconditional support.”
She closed her remarks by telling her fellow graduates that the value of education goes far beyond the diploma, or career.
“It is about approaching each situation with curiosity, seeing each problem from multiple perspectives, and finding the sun wherever you go,” Kuchta said.
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has a record crop of degree candidates at both the undergraduate and graduate levels as the University prepares for spring commencement at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 16, at the Kress Events Center on campus.
A total of 975 students are eligible to participate in Saturday’s ceremony. The number eligible to receive bachelor’s degrees is 903. Another 72 are completing master’s degrees.
Other facts and figures related to the May 2015 graduating class:
• Two-thirds of both undergraduate and graduate students are women.
• Among the 903 undergraduates, 61 percent are under the age of 25, 29 percent are ages 25-39, and 10 percent are 40 or older. For master’s candidates, the corresponding percentages are 8, 64 and 28.
• The youngest graduate Saturday will be 18 years old (she is receiving a two-year associate degree), the oldest candidate 66.
• There’s an almost even split between graduates who started their college careers as new freshman at UW-Green Bay (49 percent) and those who transferred from another college (51 percent). Twenty-nine percent of all bachelor’s candidates completed two-year associate degrees before transferring to UW-Green Bay.
• The mean mathematical age is 27.1 for undergraduates, 34.2 for master’s students.
• Area high schools are well represented among potential graduates. More than 20 percent of the undergraduate candidates completed high school in Brown County. That includes Bay Port, 31; Green Bay Preble, 22; Manitowoc Lincoln, 22; Pulaski, 22; West De Pere, 22; Green Bay Southwest, 18; Ashwaubenon, 16; De Pere, 15; Green Bay East, 15; Luxemburg-Casco, 14.
• Master’s candidates by program: Social Work, 23; Teaching and Learning, 20; Environmental Science and Policy, 15; Nursing, 7; Management, 3; Sustainable Management, 2.
• The dozen largest undergraduate majors, in terms of candidates for Saturday’s ceremony: Business Administration, 153; Integrative Leadership Studies (Adult Degree online program) 147; Human Biology, 111; Psychology, 111; Human Development, 98; Nursing, 94; Communication, 62; Education, 47; Social Work, 32; Democracy and Justice Studies, 30; Biology, 29; History, 29. (Please note: Numbers reflect degrees awarded; some students complete multiple majors.)
• Nations represented by Saturday’s candidates include 14 countries and three sovereign American Indian nations. They are Canada, China, Ecuador, Germany, Iraq, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Nicaragua, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and United States; and the Menominee, Oneida and Quileute nations.
• About 12 percent of the May 2015 commencement candidates are students of color.
• The 17 states represented are Wisconsin, Alaska, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.
There are a whopping 940-some students eligible to receive degrees including 71 master’s degree candidates — both records here at UW-Green Bay — who have applied to graduate in May or at the end of summer session in August. Our full news release has names, majors and hometowns.