Former Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton and Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy slated to inspire graduates at UW-Green Bay fall commencement

The largest fall graduating class will participate in two ceremonies on December 17

GREEN BAY, Wis. –Students graduating from UW-Green Bay’s associate, undergraduate and graduate programs in December will hear from two inspiring speakers. Former Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Barbara Lawton will speak at the 9:30 a.m. commencement ceremony; current Green Bay Packers President Mark Murphy will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony. Both have shared their excitement with students via social media. Listen to Barbara and Mark’s messages of congratulations.

More than 550 students have applied to graduate in December, the largest class of students to graduate in the fall in UW-Green Bay history. Of those students, more than 350 have signed up to cross the stage on Saturday, December 17. Two ceremonies will be held. Graduates of the College of Health, Education and Social Welfare and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. Graduates of the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business and the College of Science, Engineering and Technology will be celebrated at the 2 p.m. ceremony.

A long-time public servant, Barbara Lawton was the first woman elected lieutenant governor in Wisconsin, serving from 2003-2011. As lieutenant governor, she promoted economic development, the creation of a “Green Economy Agenda” and the “Wisconsin Women = Prosperity,” a plan to increase leadership, economic, and educational opportunities for Wisconsin women.

She chaired the Wisconsin Arts Board (2003-13), chaired the National Lieutenant Governors Association, and served on the National Leadership Council of the American Association of Colleges and Universities and the Advisory Board of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Public Diplomacy Collaborative. Since leaving public office, Lawton focused on campaign finance reform, serving as president and CEO of Americans for Campaign Reform and co-founding Issue One, launching their bipartisan ReFormers Caucus.

Lawton serves on the Advisory Boards for the national Millennial Action Project, Oxfam America’s Sisters on the Planet, the Board of Directors of the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinic Authority Board, and on the Board of Trustees for Lawrence University. She is honorary co-chair of Law Forward. Lawton was a founder of the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation and the Green Bay Area Multicultural Center.

Lawton attended UW-Green Bay beginning the semester the bay campus opened. She graduated summa cum laude from Lawrence University and earned a master’s degree in Spanish at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Lawrence recognized her in 2009 with an honorary doctorate of laws degree. She also earned an honorary doctorate of fine arts from the Milwaukee Institute of Arts and Design.

Mark Murphy, possessor of extensive experience in professional football and sports administration, is in his 15th year as the Packers’ President and CEO.

Under Murphy’s guidance, the organization continues to rank as one of the NFL’s premier franchises, with highly successful operations both on and off the field. On the field, the team has compiled one of the NFL’s top records during his tenure. Additionally, the club has made 11 playoff trips, including a team-record eight straight from 2009 to 2016, advanced to five NFC Championship games and earned a victory in Super Bowl XLV. Off the field, the club continues to perform well in its business efforts, which allows the organization to support football operations. The fan experience at Lambeau Field, a top priority for the organization, continues to be ranked among the best in sports.

In the community, the Packers Give Back program has an annual charity impact of more than $9 million.

Murphy also is directing the organization’s master plan involving Lambeau Field, the Lambeau Field Atrium, Titletown, the practice facilities and other property near the stadium, with nearly $900 million invested during Mark’s tenure.

Mark and his wife, Laurie, have four children and five grandchildren, and have been involved in the communities in which they’ve lived, donating their time to numerous organizations. Additionally, Murphy has been deeply active in higher education, through his career as athletics director at Colgate and Northwestern, as well as serving on the Council of Trustees at UW-Green Bay.

About UW-Green Bay
Established in 1965, UW-Green Bay is a public institution serving more than 9,600 undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students and 95,000 continuing education learners each year. We educate students from pre- college through retirement and offer 200+ degrees, programs and certificates. UW-Green Bay graduates are resilient, inclusive, sustaining and engaged members of their communities, ready to rise to fearlessly face challenges, solve problems and embrace diverse ideas and people. With four campus locations, the University welcomes students from every corner of the world. In 2021, UW-Green Bay was the fastest-growing UW school in Wisconsin. For more information, visit


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