Opportunity can catch you by surprise, showing up in the most unlikely places. So it’s smart to leave no stone unturned. That was just one piece of advice shared by UW-Green Bay Student Commencement Speaker Mark Minani at the Spring 2016 Ceremony at the Kress Events Center May 14.
The graduate student and Graduating Class Speaker has been turning over stones since arriving on campus and Green Bay in the fall of 2014. “The sheer number of connections and contributions he’s made on and off campus are inspiring,” noted Prof. Michael Zorn, Chair of the Environmental Science and Policy Graduate Program, in nominating Minani as a Commencement Speaker.
Minani assisted in the operation of an indoor organic farm, a community-based project that aims to support local markets with fresh produce by using sustainable practices…volunteered for the Richard Mauthe Center…organized and anchored the International Day of Peace, a Climate Change Panel Discussion and a book discussion club that brings together multiple generations…volunteered as a Greater Green Bay Young Professionals Ambassador…served as an interviewee for the Ethics in Business Awards…founded and served as President of the UWGB African Students Club…was an International Designee on the UWGB SUFAC (Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee) and a member of the UW-Green Bay Public and Environment Affairs Council…and visited high schools and elementary schools to motivate kids to attend college through the Phuture Phoenix and Globe Trekking programs.
Minani’s accomplishments are even more profound when one considers the extremely traumatic personal events he experienced in his native Rwanda. “His ability to overcome personal tragedy to become an exceptionally positive individual with a likeable disposition and outgoing personality are noteworthy,” adds Zorn. “So too is his deep desire to address environmental issues while making the world a better place.”
Minani sent off his fellow students with a few other pieces of advice:
“Working for money is necessary but alone it is not rewarding. However, serving others always brings joy and satisfaction.”
“Let’s never forget the importance of living our lives with passion, courage, enthusiasm and honesty. And whatever we decide to do, let’s be the best at it.”
“You are a Phoenix. You are rising from the ashes. You were reborn with wisdom and strength that creates a light that shines bright to help, encourage and inspire others. Let our exciting journey begin!”
Minani is introduced by Mathew Dornbush at 01:03:14 in the 3:03:22 spring commencement live stream video recording.
More About Marc Minani
This spring, Mr. Minani received an award from the Brown County Conservation Alliance for his active involvement in solving community environmental issues while a student. Indeed, Minani has left a positive and lasting footprint on our campus and our community. Like so many UWGB students, he exemplifies how one person can leave this place better than they found it.
His future career interests are to serve his country and the whole world as an environmental advocate in finding solutions to cross cutting issues as water, energy and food.
Minani received his Bachelor’s Degree in Agricultural Economics at the National University of Rwanda in 2013. He received a master’s degree in Environmental Science and Policy and a Certificate in Environmental Sustainability at today’s commencement ceremony. He was chosen to speak on behalf of his graduating class by a committee of UW-Green Bay faculty members and administrators.
Born in Rwanda, Africa, Minani moved to Green Bay to pursue his graduate studies. For his thesis work, Minani studied the environmental and economic implications of soil conservation practices. His dream: to return to his native Rwanda an expert in ways to maximize crop productivity in his hilly homeland while preserving the environment.