All the 2023 Commencement thoughts and feels

A celebration of the 50,000th graduate (congratulations, Dina Maleny Capetillo Jimenez ’23!), immense joy and creative mortarboards set the stage for UW-Green Bay’s 107th Commencement Ceremony, Saturday, May 13, 2023 on the Green Bay campus.

It’s not unusual for all the thoughts and all the feelings to pour out on commencement day. For Graduating Class Speaker Hannah Beauchamp-Pope ’23, who majored in Democracy and Justice Studies and Psychology, it was time to reflect on what it means to be a Phoenix. “The more information I acquire, whether it be inside the classroom or off the campus entirely, the more I understand that I have so much more to grasp. It is the purpose for institutions of higher education not to tell us what to think, but to teach us how to think critically, asking questions about the world as we know it and challenging what might be able to act as a remedy.”

U.S. Ambassador Mark Green inspired graduates with his ‘never-do’ list, saving the best for last: “My final never is: never give up. Never become disheartened. Never become fatigued or disillusioned or, worse yet, bored. It isn’t easy to make change and build the future, but it never has been.’

For a class that were college freshman the first year of the pandemic and now sorting through the aftermath, Green’s words were profound.

So too were the words of afternoon Commencement Speaker Dr. Valerie Daniels-Carter, a former women’s basketball player, current owner of the largest female-owned franchise organization in the country (V&J Foods) and a minority owner of the Milwaukee Bucks. Daniels-Carter spoke passionately to students about the power that lies in believing in yourself, your dreams and the path to greatness. For her, that belief lead to this reality: “In 1978, I would have been bouncing the ball. In 2023, I own the ball.”

Like Carter-Daniels, afternoon Graduating Class Speaker, Phoenix Volleyball player and Human Biology major Kayla Lass ’23 was a student athlete in college. Her parting advice to her classmates? Spread the “I love you” effect as they head into the next chapter of their lives. “‘I love you’ are three words we don’t hear enough. We all deserve to feel valued, appreciated, and worthy of love. Congratulations to my fellow graduates, goodbye Green Bay. I love you.”

Kayla, and the Class of 2023, we love you right back.

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Commencement Spring 2023

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication.

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