UW graduation speakers share their advice | Education | captimes.com

Listen to your inner voice. Do what makes you afraid. Embrace uncertainty. And dodge Cupid’s arrow.

That’s some of the advice that the spring commencement speakers across the Universities of Wisconsin say they wish someone had given them when they graduated from college.

This month, roughly 23,000 students across the UW system will receive their diplomas as the graduating class of 2024. Most have already walked across the stage, while the rest will follow in the coming days.

The Cap Times compiled a list of keynote speakers at each of the 13 system universities. They include an Olympic gold medalist, the founder of the news website Axios and the CEO of Sleep Number Corp.

The universities also shared how the speakers are selected and compensated, if at all.

The Cap Times asked the speakers to share a piece of advice for graduates. Not all responded, but here’s what most of the speakers had to say.

UW-Green Bay

Commencement: May 11

Speakers: UW-Green Bay also had two speakers for its two ceremonies.

In the morning, graduates heard from Rachel Patzer, president and CEO of the Regenstrief Institute in Indiana.

Christopher Caldwell, who is the president of the College of Menominee Nation, spoke in the afternoon.

Selection: A small committee picks the speakers for the winter and spring ceremonies based on who resonates with and inspires the students, faculty, staff and family and community members that attend.

Compensation: Compensation varies. A speaker may donate their time or receive up to $3,000.

Patzer and Caldwell were offered $3,000 and $1,000 honorariums, respectively, funded by the UW-Green Bay Foundation, according to university spokesperson Kristin Bouchard. They may use that money at their discretion, such as for airfare, mileage, hotel and food expenses. Patzer said in a follow-up email that she did not use all of her honorarium for travel expenses, so she donated the remainder to a student scholarship UW-Green Bay.

Advice: “Seek out a challenge in the world that calls to you and is a problem worth solving,” Patzer said. “Immerse yourself in it, absorb every facet by engaging with people, delving into literature, conversing with experts, and above all, lending an ear to the voices of those affected.”

Patzer added, “Embrace the uncertainty of not having a perfectly charted path or a crystal-clear vision of what the future holds. As you work to understand the heart of the problem, you will discover how you can contribute your unique skills and passion to what the world needs. The drive to contribute to something greater than yourself is an important part of what I consider a meaningful life.”

Caldwell said, “Embrace what you find as important: faith, family, friends, serving your community, work, education, and taking time to pursue hobbies and interests. Understand the importance of planning for the future and where you want to be, but also focus on the day, and the moment you are in, taking time to pause, reflect, to learn through success and failure. Be all right with not knowing in the moment, but take the time to learn more. Each morning when you wake up, say to yourself, ‘I wish I would have…,’ then whatever it is, use it to create a plan for moving forward.”

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Source: UW graduation speakers share their advice | Education | captimes.com

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