Speakers include Green Bay attorney, Appleton student, Eau Claire regent

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has announced featured speakers for mid-year commencement Saturday, Dec. 17, on campus.

Delivering the commencement address will be 1987 UW-Green Bay alumnus Timothy F. Nixon, a nationally prominent lawyer in the field of bankruptcy law and a Green Bay-area civic leader. Speaking on behalf of the graduating class will be Tonya Filz of Appleton, a standout student researcher who will receive her bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Chancellor Thomas K. Harden will preside over the ceremony, which begins at 11:30 a.m. in the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. About 435 graduates are eligible to receive their degrees. Also having a role in the program will be UW System Regent Edmund Manydeeds of Eau Claire, who will extend greetings on behalf of the statewide governing board.

Timothy F. Nixon, the commencement speaker, is a shareholder with Godfrey & Kahn, S.C., and his firm’s lead attorney in business finance and restructuring. Recently, an independent ranking service listed Nixon No. 25 among all bankruptcy attorneys in America by volume of caseload assets, and his name appears on numerous “best lawyers” lists both state and national. He has represented clients in cases before the United States Supreme Court and the Courts of Appeal, as well as in bankruptcy courts across the nation, including some of the largest actions filed in the United States. He is counsel to the fee examiner in the General Motors bankruptcy and to the fee committee in the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. bankruptcy. A 2010 recipient of UW-Green Bay’s Distinguished Alumni Award, he holds a bachelor’s degree in Public and Environmental Administration in 1987. He went on to earn a law degree and a master’s in public policy and administration at UW-Madison. In his community, Nixon has served as president of the Board of Directors of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce. He is president of the Green Bay Water Commission. He also volunteers his time as an adjunct faculty member in Public and Environmental Affairs at UW-Green Bay, teaching courses in administrative law and public and non-profit management.

Tonya Filz, selected to be the student speaker, is also the recipient of the December 2011 Outstanding Student Award presented by the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Alumni Association. The award is made to one high-achieving graduating senior at each commencement. Members of the selection committee praised Filz for her commitment to bettering the lives of children and her impressive record of achievement as a student researcher collaborating with faculty members on projects of scholarly importance. Filz will receive her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with honors and distinction in the major.
Over the course of her undergraduate career at UW-Green Bay, Filz was chosen to serve as a research assistant and work side-by-side with Profs. Regan A.R. Gurung, Ryan Martin and Kristin Vespia on projects investigating diverse topics such as anger and aggression, student perceptions of undergraduate teaching assistants, and civil discussion of controversial issues. She is co-author with Prof. Vespia of a chapter scheduled for inclusion in a new book to be published by the American Psychological Association on best practices in teaching psychology. The chapter is “When controversies lead to controversy: Preventing and handling classroom disruptions.” She also has been listed as co-author of publications and research presentations made to the APA national conference in Washington, D.C. In her community, she worked as a therapist with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project, providing services to children between the ages of 3 and 12. She was also a children’s advocate intern with Harbor House domestic abuse shelter in Appleton. Filz says her post-graduation plans involve continuing her education as a doctoral student in clinical psychology. She is the daughter of Tom and Lori Filz, Appleton. She graduated high school through iQ Academy Wisconsin, an online program managed by the school district of Waukesha and open to students from across the state.

Edmund Manydeeds, who will represent the UW System at the ceremony, is an attorney with Richie, Guettinger & Manydeeds in Eau Claire. He was appointed to the Board of Regents in May 2010. He is a graduate of UW-Superior and received his law degree from UW-Madison. He served as a member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Judicial Selection from January 2003 to December 2010, and is also a member of the Appointment Selection Committee, appointed by the Supreme Court of Wisconsin for a three-year term of May 1, 2009 to April 30, 2012.

The Dec. 16 ceremony is the University’s 42nd mid-year commencement, and 84th overall. UW-Green Bay has held two commencements annually since the first on June 1, 1970. The December graduates will bring the total number of UW-Green Bay alumni to near 30,000.

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