UWGB Phoenix motarboard

Capping off their degrees

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 to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Grad Caps - 5/18/19

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

Commencement photos: Soaring like a Phoenix

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay was in full force on Saturday, May 18, 2019. With about 700 graduates choosing to participate in Commencement, supported by nearly 3,500 guests in the Kress Events Center, the ceremony had its fun and its formalities. And the excitement and possibilities for about 900 graduates who were eligible to graduate have just begun. See our photo recap:

Click to advance slideshow view or view the album on Flickr.

Commencement - May 18, 2019

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

Researcher and collaborator Alex Godoy-Faúndez, bestowed an honorary degree

Researcher and collaborator Alex Godoy-Faúndez, bestowed an honorary degree

A dedicated and brilliant scientist with a strong focus on finding new solutions to understanding complex environmental and resource management problems. A rare leader and a collaborator. An internationally recognized expert who is bringing science and engineering research into the policy-making decision process. A professional who embodies the mission and spirit of UW-Green Bay. A person able to inspire others to action through his incredible enthusiasm.

Researcher and collaborator Alex Godoy-Faúndez, bestowed an honorary degree
Alex Godoy-Faúndez and Chancellor Miller


All of these sentiments have been aptly used to describe the work and commitment of Alex Godoy-Faúndez, an internationally renowned researcher and previous UW-Green Bay scholar in residence. Today, Godoy-Faúndez is presented with one more commendation for his distinguished service to learning, the state and the common good of society: An Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from UW-Green Bay.

On his way to becoming an internationally regarded researcher on the environment and sustainability, Godoy-Faundez spent time as both a visiting researcher and a resident scholar at UW-Green Bay, team-teaching courses in Pollution Control and Environmental Issues in the Americas during the 2012 academic year. After Godoy-Faúndez’s second visit to the campus, a delegation of UW-Green Bay faculty and administrators traveled to Chile to set up an exchange program with the Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago, Chile, and the creation of an International Environmental Studies minor. The exchange program continues today, providing Green Bay students with extraordinary opportunities for research and scholarship.

Godoy-Faúndez is the current director of the Sustainability Research Centre and Strategic Resource Management (CiSGER) and the academic director for the Master’s program in Sustainability in the School of Engineering at the Universidad del Desarrollo in Chile.

Godoy-Faúndez has worked with the CiSger since 2015, leading senior researchers who are studying and promoting innovation in sustainable technologies to solve current and future environmental problems through innovation. His research focuses on the relationship between engineering, society and sustainability with the goal of developing frameworks of analysis to understand the causes and effects of current events. Through investigation into the governance of complex and evolving human ecosystems so that processes can be built to deliver simple and practical solutions to a more sustainable world, Godoy-Faúndez works with engineers, lawyers and economists, as well as postgraduate students to help solve the problems of climate change.

Godoy-Faúndez is also a research associate at the Earth Engineering Center of Columbia University, Head of Waste to Energy Research and Technology – Chile at the National Chapter of the Waste to Energy Research and Technology (WTERT) Global Council and as a researcher for trAndeS, the Postgraduate Program for Research on Inequalities and Sustainable Development in the Andean Region.

It bears noting that UW-Green Bay honorary degree letters of recommendation for Godoy-Faúndez included ones from Ricardo Lagos, the former president of Chile from 2000-2006 and Carol Perez, the current U.S. ambassador to Chile.

In addition to his research, Godoy-Faúndez is a teacher, winning the 2016 Academic Excellence for teaching at the Universidad del Desarrollo; a published author, co-authoring the First Environmental Chilean Survey on “Environment and Climate Change: Attitudes and Perceptions”; and a speaker to the media on the importance of moving towards sustainable development in newspapers and television, including CNN U.S. and Chile.

UW-Green Bay friend and colleague, Dean John Katers of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology shared: “Alex truly makes the world a smaller and better place by fostering collaborative opportunities and connecting people together through his leadership and vision. I believe these ideals fit very closely with what a degree from UW-Green Bay represents, while also taking a more modern view of our ECO-U roots.”

Graduating Class Speaker Yuntlekalau McLester encourages graduates to be purposeful

Graduating Class Speaker Yuntlekalau McLester encourages graduates to be purposeful

UW-Green Bay Student Speaker Yuntlekalau McLester began her commencement remarks at the beginning, introducing herself to family, friends and fellow graduates in her native Oneida language and ending in song with a message for graduates:

Graduating Class Speaker Yuntlekalau McLester in traditional dress
Graduating Class Speaker Yuntlekalau McLester in traditional dress

Shekoli Swakweku

“I=kelhe taetwatunlunha

Evangeline yutatyatskwe akhsothak<

Tsyosha>aht yutatyats aknulha

Yuntle>kala=& niyukyats, wakkwaho niwakitalot<, Onyote>a=ka niwakatuh<tsyot< ohkale Talu>kowahne thenakle>

Hello all of you. I’d like to introduce myself.

Evangeline Constance Webster-Delgado was my grandmother’s name

Tsyosha>aht Caterina Delgado is my mother’s name

Yuntle>kala=& is my name and I am of the wolf clan, People of the Standing Stone is the land and earth I come from, and I live where the Ducks are bountiful.

I give my introduction in the Oneida language to establish my relations. Lotinosaunee, People of the Longhouse are matrilineal, we follow our mothers which is why my mother and my mothers mother are included with extension to my clan, my people, and the land I occupy.

As an indigenous woman of Turtle Island, I find it important to stand before you as my true self, in my identity, and in my traditional clothing. I never had the chance to know my maternal grandmother but she was going to college in Chicago raising nine children on her own and passed away right before her college graduation. Today I honor her by wearing her skirt and leggings as my mother did at her graduation. My mother was also a single mother of three therefore, as the third generation of single mothers, I follow in the strength and power of the women in my life that came before me. Being commencement speaker is much more than me speaking before all of you; it is changing a narrative around women. We can see this movement of women taking place with the amazing leadership that is rising. I’m sure that in order for those women to succeed they had to have failed, a lot.

There have been many times when I failed at college and life but each time I had to reexamine why I was here. When looking at my major, which I changed at least three times, I was trying to find what fit me. It took a while before I arrived at my program in First Nations Studies. All of those struggles through life and school can be reminders that we need to take a step back and reevaluate our lives and our decisions to do what makes us happy. Our wellness prepares us to face anything that comes along in our lifetime. In those difficult times, we look to those individuals that help lift us up, our friends and family, through their stories and laughter.

Since attending this institution I’ve been faced with hardships from the loss of family members, of friends, of relationships that put me into some of the darkest times in my life.  So much that I questioned if being here at school was the best thing for me. I could honestly say that I would never had made it without the family, friends, and faculty that were there to simply ask me, “How are you doing, is everything going alright?” The importance of my family and community on campus continued to grow through these interconnected relationships that were forming. My journey through life began to fall into alignment with the things that I had envisioned for myself. While in school I was seeing the horrible things happening in the world with my eyes unveiled but yet, with so much love, empathy, and compassion. Those characteristics I had learned through my traditional teachings but were amplified with what I was learning here.

When we’re little we’re told to go to school so we could make a difference, right? We were sent to make an impact and continue the ripple of movers and shakers that came before us. I focus on my passion and doing what I love because I want my son to do the same, as he gets older. If we’re not doing something purposeful with our lives, then maybe its time to take that step back and rethink our next move. There’s always a moment to change and create your own path.

That’s why today, I would like to share a Robin Dance song with all of you. The Robin represents renewal of life after the winter frost has gone. I find it fitting because we all are taking the next steps in our lives by graduating today. I choose to sing this song with one of my students I have been mentoring in Oneida music, language, and culture through our youth programs at the Oneida Nation Arts Program, Kaylee Schuyler.

I am continuing that ripple of changing the narrative around women and hope that all those that come after me are welcomed and find family here. Thanks to all of you who are graduating, for your brilliance and resilience. We made it!”


Allman commencement speaker

Allman asks grads to consider ‘servant leader’ approach

With an energy level akin to the official christening of a new ship or rolling a new car model off the assembly line, Jan Allman, president and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine, encouraged graduating seniors to live a life of servant leadership and to do so with their whole hearts.

Allman concluded her enthusiastic remarks, her first ever to a graduating class, with the following advice:

“Today is your day. Be proud. Enjoy being the center of attention. You deserve it.

But tomorrow is not about you. It’s about those you will serve. Endeavor to be that teammate, colleague and friend that everyone wants. Inspire those around you to be better. Lift others up. Encourage others with your personal example of servant leadership.

In the end, your name and reputation mean more than what you make or what kind of fancy title you have. To serve with your whole heart is what it is all about.”

Allman shared her advice and thoughts with family and friends gathered to honor more than 700 undergraduate and graduate students who participated in the University’s 99th Commencement Ceremony.

Allman’s full remarks:

“Good afternoon, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, and congratulations!

Chancellor Miller, distinguished guests, parents, family and graduates: Wow. The excitement in the air is palpable – what an extraordinary honor it is to be here today.

It’s clear that today marks a new chapter in your life. Some of you will be entering into the workforce, joining the military, continuing your education or taking many other paths.

Will Rogers once said: ‘Even when you are on the right track, you will get run over if you just sit there.’

Whatever your next move, it requires you to take action in making that decision. Spend some time refining your path because throughout the rest of your life, you will be required to grow, reevaluate your goals and potentially pivot. You will encounter many unexpected opportunities along the way, and I encourage you to experiment and follow what you love doing. I smile when I think back to my initial master plan, and I am thankful for the unanticipated disruptions along the way.

My approach to early education was non-traditional. By the time I finished high school, I had moved more than a dozen times and lived in two different countries because of my father’s job. I would stay in one school a few months, then pack up and move to the next. This constant change forced me to adapt to new situations, focusing on both short term goals like adjusting to a new school, making a positive impression with new teachers, and integrating into new friend cliques, while continuing to focus on my long term ambition to be the first kid on either side of my family to attend college and earn an engineering degree. While attending three different high schools in two different countries, I concentrated on math, physics and chemistry.

I was in the automotive industry for almost 30 years. I began my career with Ford at the age of 19 as a CO-OP student at GMI, now called Kettering University. As a CO-OP I worked while obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. I took accelerated courses followed by full time employment at 12 week intervals. During my CO-OP, I gained significant experience through working in a variety of departments and positions such as production supervisor, maintenance supervisor, quality/process/industrial and facilities engineering.

After working 26 years with Ford, I joined Navistar as VP of Global Manufacturing building International Trucks and Buses. I had been with Ford most my life and it was a daunting task to step out of my comfort zone and enter into a different company and culture. This was a great growth experience for me. It taught me that there was life outside of Ford and there were many other opportunities and experiences I could do as long as I was willing to step out and do them.

Then, after spending nearly 30 years learning everything there is to know about automotive, I decided to make the most dramatic change in my life –and began building combat ships for the US Navy. I am now President and CEO of Fincantieri Marinette Marine. A naval shipyard located just 1 hour north of where we stand today. We are currently building one of the US Navy’s most technological advanced war ships, the U.S. Freedom Class, Littoral Combat ship. I am one of very few people who can claim that I build FREEDOM every day. How cool is that?

Building combat ships is extremely rewarding; it’s also very challenging. I could have never accepted the challenge of switching careers if I hadn’t spent 30 years actively developing my own talents, and refining my decision making process.

I’m also honored to be serving on a presidentially-appointed committee called NIAC, the National Infrastructure Advisory Council.

In my life, I have had a lot of time to see various leadership techniques applied in a multitude of settings.

You may ask how one stays focused while always considering the next move or opportunity. I am a true believer that the only way to do that is by developing a strong system of personal values and leadership style. And that’s what I’m here to talk about today. Its called Servant Leadership.

A servant leader energizes and influences others by focusing on their individual needs, and what they require to be successful. The leader joins the team in working towards the common goal, instead of commanding or telling them what they need to do from afar. This type of leadership can be described as “The skill of influencing people to enthusiastically work toward identified goals, with character that inspires confidence and excellence.” Think about someone in your life who focuses on you as an individual and developing your skills, who continuously encourages you, motivates and builds your confidence. Much like a coach. I bet you will remember that person throughout your life because they earned your trust and loyalty, and guided you to excel. This is servant leadership. This leadership approach is practiced at many extremely successful companies including Starbucks, Johnson & Johnson, Best Buy, KwikTrip, Marriott, Nordstrom, the U.S. Military, many of Fortune Magazine’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” and over a dozen of Fortune Magazine’s “Most Admired Organizations.”

John Quincy Adams once said, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”

Although I have received countless hours of both formal and on the job management training, the truest example of servant leadership that I have ever witnessed was illustrated to me by my father in law, Lieutenant Albert Allman. Through his story, I would like to give you some tangible examples of how to emulate this honorable approach to human interaction.

Albert lived a life of civil service and activism, with a long string of achievements starting with serving for three years in the Navy during World War II. He was a Lieutenant on a sub-chaser. Operating with a crew of only 30 sailors, they learned to depend on each other for their lives. While in port at Hong Kong doing an emergency repair on one of the two engines on the ship, a typhoon hit. Albert was ordered to stay in port. Both he and the crew knew if they stayed in port their ship would be destroyed, putting them all at risk. Albert knew the safest place for a ship to be during high winds was at sea. Rather than risk the ship being destroyed by remaining in port, he took her out of the harbor, operating with only one functioning engine. Throughout the devastating storm he had to remain constantly vigilant while at the helm in order to keep the failing ship pointed into the waves, and to protect his fellow crewmen. He and the crew were commended for their bravery and saving the ship. That commitment and call to action was a guiding principle he practiced throughout his life.

After the war, Albert became a leader in his community. He inspired others to get involved, and actively participated in many organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Sierra Club, Rotary Club, Knights of Columbus, Elks, and his local church. Most importantly, he left an imprint on his local community resulting in a better future for Tiffin, Ohio. When people describe Albert, they say he was a selfless leader willing to take on any job or help in any capacity. Words used to describe him are coach, mentor, promoting strength in unity, giving credit to others, and generating enthusiasm for anything he pursued. Albert is no longer with us, however, his legacy will continue to inspire those who knew him.

Hopefully through sharing my experiences, you will develop an interest to learn more about servant leadership and how you can incorporate the tenants into your own personal journey.

Today is your day. Be proud. Enjoy being the center of attention. You deserve it.

But tomorrow is not about you. It’s about those you will serve. Endeavor to be that teammate, colleague and friend that everyone wants. Inspire those around you to be better. Lift others up. Encourage others with your personal example of servant leadership.

In the end, your name and reputation mean more than what you make or what kind of fancy title you have. To serve with your whole heart is what it is all about.

Finally, once again I want to issue my congratulations to the UW-
Green Bay Class of 2019 and I wish you the best in all your endeavors. Thank you!”

Joshua Vollmar

Josh Vollmar recognized as UW-Green Bay’s ‘Most Outstanding Student’

Being good at something is one thing. Being passionate about learning is another. Outstanding Student Award Recipient, Joshua Vollmar, came to appreciate the difference after taking an Introduction to Human Biology class, realizing that learning about health science while sharing compassion through active volunteerism were key to how he wanted to build his future career. That combination of learning and living make Vollmar a most deserving recipient of this year’s Outstanding Student Award.

Joshua Vollmar-1Vollmar was presented with the award by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association at a May 17 student award ceremony on campus and was recognized on Saturday, May 18 at the 99th Commencement Ceremony at the Kress Events Center. The Alumni Association, which has been designating a single Outstanding Student Award Recipient for each graduating class since 1976, recognized Vollmar for his undergraduate success as a student and volunteer service for others and the community. He was nominated and selected from all students eligible to receive diplomas at May commencement.

Vollmar graduates today with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology with a Health Science emphasis. A native of Suring, Wisconsin, Vollmar first came to the UW-Green Bay campus as a fifth grader on a Phuture Phoenix field trip more than 11 years ago. Today, he crossed the stage as an example of UW-Green Bay’s finest: a graduate with a 3.787 GPA, five semesters earning honors, a student highly engaged on and off campus, a Chancellor’s Medallion recipient and a Phoenix ready for more.

Throughout childhood, money was tight and an education past high school was rarely discussed. “I never thought getting a degree was an option for me, let alone being able to have an extensive resume,” Vollmar wrote in his award application. “Attending UW-Green Bay has changed my life for nothing but the better. I have found passion in pursuing a career in medicine and am hoping to return to the area to continue serving the community.”

As a first-generation college student and Phuture Phoenix, Vollmar received several scholarships upon enrolling at UW-Green Bay. He credits these scholarships as the turning point in his education, when he was able to focus more on his academics than on his financial responsibilities. These awards also granted him the opportunity to experience a human biology travel course to Germany and Poland.

Vollmar also worked throughout college to fund his education, starting as a table assembler for a woodcrafts organization and ending as a Certified Nursing Assistant for Bellin Health.

As a human biology major aiming to make a difference, Vollmar immediately got involved in campus organizations including the Tri-Beta Biological Honor Society, where he assisted in turning the organization from inactive to a bustling chapter with 68 members and 22 graduate members and helped create the Human Biology Professional Development Council. Vollmar is a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and has participated in the UW-Green Bay Fall Research Symposium, the Tiny Earth Research Symposium and the Undergraduate Research, Scholarly and Creative Activity (URSCA) Symposium.

Vollmar’s community volunteer record is impressive and includes giving of his time and talent to numerous community and campus events over the last four years. “Every chance I was given to give back to the community through donations or assisting with an event revolved around one driving force, and that is compassion. While there may be times when the world needs more of it, I am grateful to have witnessed the power of compassion and the effect it can leave on a community. I am excited to carry these qualities into my future career.”