The final candidates in the search for search for the UW-Green Bay Sheboygan Campus executive officer will be on the Sheboygan campus next week, located at One University Drive, Sheboygan, WI 53081. Each candidate will discuss their “vision for the future of UW-Green Bay, Sheboygan Campus” in an open forum for the campus community. The open forum schedule is as follows:
Prof. Patricia Terry’s address to UW-Green Bay’s 100th graduating class, Dec. 14, 2019.
“Graduates, you may not think you have much in common with the faculty that have challenged you—sometimes way beyond the point of frustration, to questioning if our motives aren’t really just to torment you. However, most of us have one thing in common—family and their expectations; Family that have supported us, loved us, and also occasionally also pushed us to heights of frustration. Even today, I continue to have some entertaining conversations with my family.
Every time he has seen me for the past 20 plus years, my father has told me that I have far exceeded his expectations for me and every time he says this, I have the same response: I may have exceeded your expectations for me, but I have not yet reached mine. I say to you, as you embark on your future, set lofty goals for yourself and never be limited by someone else’s perception of you and your abilities. Don’t ever let anyone but yourself define who you are and what makes you successful. Only you know what your life goals are and only you can know how good is good enough. Never live by anyone else’s standards for you. One thing I wish for you is that you will always like and respect the person you see in the mirror each day. If you live your life in a way that assures you will like the person you are, you will be truly successful. Be warned, though, this is much easier said than done. You will find times when it would be easy to put your head down and follow the crowd or chose not to speak up, even when you know someone needs to. Being the person with the moral courage to speak up or do the right thing, even if it goes against the actions or opinions of those around you, is hard. It may cost you friends; it may not be the best thing for your career. But, if you can have the moral courage to stand up for what is right, regardless of the consequences, you will always respect yourself and that is the most important kind of success.
Many years ago, my parents came to watch me compete in a 50 mile ultramarathon. At the end of a grueling day, my father, always ready with a sage comment, stood over me laying on the ground in exhaustion and made the astute observation, “You didn’t win.” Equally ready with the astute reply, I said, “Yes I did. You don’t always have to finish first to win the race. I wanted to know if I had what it took to run 50 miles and now I know the answer is yes. By that standard, I won.” Most of life is analogous to an ultramarathon. You all just finished one by completing a major and earning your degree. You may not have the highest gpa or the highest standing in your major, but you won the race by graduating. In any ultramarathon, there are always one or two or three times when you are no longer having fun and quitting sounds like a good idea. But, if you can focus on the end goal and remember that achieving it is more important than any momentary desire to quit, you will always win. When asked why I do ultramarathons, I use the life analogy.
Life is a series of ultramarathons and many goals require you to keep putting one foot in front of another, ignoring the voice in your head that wants to quit, and persevere even when the race is not that fun anymore. You may even trip and fall and have to get up, dust yourself off, ignore a little blood, and get moving again. That mindset got me through a Ph.D. in engineering, the exhausting process of getting tenure as a new faculty member, and many other long-term goals. The important thing is that you challenge yourself and give every attempt the best you have. You may not always be the fastest, strongest, smartest, or most talented person in any endeavor, but accept the challenge, run the race anyway. Life is a series of ultramarathons. Don’t spend yours on the sidelines watching people you think are better compete. Live life to the fullest, lace on your running shoes, and claim your place at the starting line. Most of the time, you won’t cross the finish line first, but if you join the grand race that is life and live it to its fullest, you are a winner.
I will leave you with a line from one of my favorite songs, “If you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance.”
Student Speaker Hannah Malmberg (Political Science, Communication) tells her fellow grads to have the courage to start anew. Here’s her speech:
Hello everyone. I feel like we’ve been trained to introduce ourselves with our name, major, and a fun fact about ourselves. So why not do it one last time? My name is Hannah Malmberg, I’m a Political Science and Communication major, and as for a fun fact about myself? Well I ran out of those after the 20th time of having to do this on the first day of class.
But I do have a fun fact for you. Did you know that the UWGB mascot wasn’t always a Phoenix? Up until 1970, the mascot was a water-skiing badger called the Bay Badger. Which honestly does sound kind of cool, but it made me think about the meaning of being a Phoenix.
What is a Phoenix, besides a dope mascot named Phlash?
The Phoenix is an ancient mythological creature found in folklore spanning several cultures that symbolizes renewal and rebirth. It bursts into flames before beginning its new life and soaring.
Which is beautiful, but in order for the Phoenix to be resurrected from the ashes and start anew, it must first fall.
While we may not be living in a legend of old, I’m sure many of us can relate to a tale about failing before finding success. I know that I can.
Before what was supposed to be the first semester of my sophomore year of college, I actually dropped out of this University.
My freshman year was a struggle. My mental health was in one of the worst states it had ever been in since I began my battle against mental illness many years ago. I felt disconnected and lost from everything and everyone around me. I wasn’t adjusting to college life like I had expected. Combine that with the fact that high school had been academically easy for me, so college was going to be too right?
Well not exactly. I even failed a class, American Government and Politics. Which is hilarious considering I became a Political Science major. Don’t worry, I retook it.
After taking a semester off, I decided to reapply and was admitted once again to the University. This time around, I challenged myself and sought help from those around me when I needed it. I also wanted to become that person for others as well. I became a peer mentor in the Gateway to Phoenix Success Program so that I could help others have an easier transition to college than I did. I am proud of helping the next generation of Phoenix succeed. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to have a second chance and try again.
So to me, being a Phoenix means being resilient because I know my story is not unique. We have all faced obstacles along our journey to this very day. But look at us now! I’m proud of that fact that we have created a community of support where we help each other rise when we one of us has fallen.
As I look out at all of you, I see how much we have grown and I know that the sum of our achievements is extraordinary. We have served as mentors and tutors. Conducted research, created beautiful pieces of art, and competed as talented athletes. We have left this campus and community better and stronger than when we arrived.
We may live in an uncertain world, but I know we will land on our feet and excel. We will create the world we want to see for ourselves. We are Phoenix after all.
Before I go, I would like to take the time to thank those who have helped me along my college journey. To my family, thank you for letting me discover my own path and for letting me make mistakes while loving me all the same. Today I am thinking about my Grandma Doris who always inspired me to pursue an education but passed away before she could see me graduate. To my friends, thank you for being there on those sleepless nights, for listening to me when I’m at my wit’s end, and for helping me create some of my most cherished memories. I am forever grateful for meeting you. I also want to thank the incredible faculty and staff I have met here at UWGB, especially Dr. Levintova and Dr. Helpap. I would not be up on this stage if it wasn’t for the guidance you gave me, the confidence you helped build, or the opportunities you provided.
So congrats UWGB Class of 2019, we finally made it and for old time’s sake, Go Phoenix. Thank you.
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