UW-Green Bay’s First Engineering Technology Graduates Among 947 to Receive UW-Green Bay Degrees, May 13

Class of 2017 also Sets Records for Academic Honors, Master’s Degrees Awarded

Green Bay, Wis. – Dessi Koss is doing more than graduating from college on Saturday. She is also making history. Koss, the first student to enroll in the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s new program in Engineering Technology in 2015, will also be the first to graduate in the Mechanical Engineering Technology track, paving the way for a new era of academic programming at the University in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

Koss is one of 947 students eligible to receive a degree during the Saturday, May 13, 2017 Spring Commencement taking place at 11:30 a.m. at the Kress Events Center on campus.

The need for a regional higher education partner that prepares engineers for the Green Bay area and surrounding regions has been recognized for decades. The first graduates of the UW-Green Bay program symbolize that both that the need is real, and that it is beginning to be met. The Engineering Technology degree has quickly become the fastest growing major at the University and offers degree tracks in mechanical, electrical and environmental areas of study. Cognizant of business and industry’s engineering needs in the region, UW-Green Bay will seek approval this fall from the UW Board of Regents to offer mechanical engineering at the University.

The first engineering technology graduates are not the only thing setting the Class of 2017 apart. The class also contains a record number of academic honor recipients (277), a record number of master’s degree candidates (120) and large numbers of students earning multiple degrees and completing them in record time: six triple majors, 105 double majors, three students completing their bachelor’s degree in two years and 17 who are bringing home a degree in three years.

“Our college students are to be commended. They’re working harder than ever before to maximize their investment in their education,” said Chancellor Gary L. Miller. “They want to help our economies grow and improve community quality of life, and they know that the challenges awaiting them require a varied skill set across multiple disciplines. For some, that means a double or a triple major, or gaining ample college credits in high school so they can accelerate their education and start solving problems sooner. They are doing whatever they can now to be quick and agile learners, able to easily adapt and be successful in a world that is forever changing with rapid technology and marketplace needs.”

The University’s 95th Commencement (49th spring) will include comments from Graduating Class Speaker Cody Von Ruden, a native of Cashton, Wis., who is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree, majoring in Theatre (Design and Technology). The commencement address, “The Unexpected,” will be provided by Susan Finco, owner and president of Leonard & Finco Public Relations, Inc. Lifelong education and community advocate Judy Crain will be presented with the Chancellor’s Award, made to individuals who have assisted in some significant way in the development of UW-Green Bay. It is the University’s highest community honor.

Angela Smet, De Pere, received the Outstanding Student Award, presented by the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association. Smet is receiving her bachelor of science degree with a 3.9 grade point average and highest distinction, having completed a major in Human Biology. The Alumni Association, which has been designating a single Outstanding Student Award recipient for each graduating class since 1976, recognized Smet for her undergraduate success as a student, researcher and volunteer in service to others. She was nominated and selected from among approximately 920 graduating seniors eligible to receive diplomas at May commencement. Smet’s passion to educate, teach and heal make her future plans no surprise. Following graduation, she will attend the Medical College of Wisconsin-Green Bay as a first-year medical student. She is the first college graduate in her family. Smet has this to say about her UW-Green Bay experience: “I love UW-Green Bay as my home and my family. Today, I am a confident, well-educated young woman raising a future college graduate. Each day, I wake up so incredibly thankful and proud of my education.”

Commencement a Family Affair for Many
For UW-Green Bay’s Class of 2017, Commencement appears to be a family affair:

  • Like mother like daughter: Graduate Alexandra Schoeneck is following in her mom’s (Rebecca Schoeneck’s ’13), footsteps and becoming a nurse when she receives her BSN on Saturday.
  • Like mother like son: Gloria Troester and son Nathan Troester are graduating with the same degree (Integrative Leadership Studies) on the same day.
  • Happy wife. Happy life. Happy husband: Mariah Rathkamp ‘17 is graduating from the Health Information Management Technology (HIMT) program. Husband Justin Rathkamp was so impressed with Mariah’s experience with the program, he decided to enroll. He is one semester behind his wife and will graduate with the same degree in December.
  • Proud Papa: Long-time UW-Green Bay Associate Prof. Andrew Austin’s son, Nikolas, will be graduating with a degree in Political Science. His father will be on stage to present him with his diploma.

Mic Drop
For UW-Green Bay Associate Professor Brian Sutton, who has been the booming voice announcing graduates since the Fall of 2000, this year’s commencement will be his last. In other words, he’s doing a mic drop. Sutton is retiring after a nealy 25-year-career at UW-Green Bay teaching English, and 15,000 graduates articulately announced under his belt.

Other Facts About the UW-Green Bay Class of 2017

  • Oh, the places they will go: Disney, Boeing, the Washington Mystics and a growing list of successful Northeast Wisconsin companies have snapped up UW-Green Bay graduates, hiring them before graduation.
  • 89% percent will complete bachelor’s degrees, 10% will complete master’s degrees, and 1% associates degrees
  • The youngest undergraduate is 20. The oldest is 67.
  • The top 10 most popular majors among 2017 graduates are: Business Administration (131 graduates), Integrative Leadership Studies (112), Human Biology (80), Psychology (80), Nursing (64), Human Development (53), Communication (41), Social Work (36), Education (36) and Accounting (35).
  • The annual number of master’s degrees awarded continues its recent acceleration. The projection for the 2016-17 total is 120, compared to 113 for 2015-16. Master’s in Social Work, Teaching & Learning, Nursing and Environmental Science & Policy lead the list and are aligned with the region’s in-demand talent needs.
  • 27 countries and Native American tribes are represented in the 2017 graduating class.

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate and graduate programs to 7,030 students. The University transforms lives and communities through exceptional and award-winning teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities and a problem-solving approach to education. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


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