The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay reports that at least 398 students are eligible to graduate as the institution prepares for mid-year Commencement this Saturday, Dec. 18. Ceremonies begin at 11:30 a.m. at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive.
Chancellor Thomas K. Harden will preside over the 41st December ceremony, and the 82st overall. With Saturday’s newest graduates, the number of degrees awarded by UW-Green Bay over its four-decade history increases to approximately 28,000.
Among the highlights:
• The graduating class of December 2010 will, once again, break a record for mid-year Commencement at UW-Green Bay. A report Thursday from Deborah Furlong of Institutional Research says the total will almost certainly exceed 400 bachelor’s and master’s degrees for the first time in school history. (Final numbers, of course, depend on candidates completing all their requirements.) The final total for December 2009, the previous high, was 391.
• Delivering the commencement address will be Neil Diboll, a 1978 graduate in Environmental Sciences. Diboll is a prairie ecologist, entrepreneur and nationally known champion of the use of native trees, shrubs, wetland plants and prairie species in contemporary American landscaping. The company he started, Prairie Nursery, ships plants and seeds nationwide, operates a retail store at its headquarters in Westfield, Wis., and designs and installs eco-friendly landscapes. Among the firm’s high-profile Midwest clients are the Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits golf courses near Kohler, Alliant Energy headquarters in Madison, and the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago.
• Graduating class speaker is Amii John of Oneida, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in art. John has won praise not only for her own artwork, but for promoting cross-cultural awareness and a greater appreciation of Native American art. She took a lead role in organizing a fall 2010 exhibit at the University’s Lawton Gallery, soliciting current work by dozens of Native artists from the United States and Canada for the show “Mostly Indian and Other Fables.”
• Receiving recognition as the top graduating senior — as selected by the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association from among nominees for its Outstanding Student Award — will be Kari M. Kropp of Pulaski. She will receive her bachelor’s degree in Education with a minor in Spanish. Members of the award selection committee praised her commitment to her Education major, her award-winning service as a resident assistant with campus housing, and her volunteer work on campus and in the community.
• Of the 398 eligible to receive degrees, better than 75 percent, or about 300, have signed up to don caps and gowns and participate in the ceremony.
• About two dozen individuals will receive master’s degrees.
• Among undergraduate areas awarding the most diplomas this December will be Business Administration, about 50; Interdisciplinary Studies (a bachelor’s degree earned by distance learners and working adults, with various areas of emphasis possible), about 45; and Communication, Elementary Education, Human Development, Nursing and Psychology, all with more than 30 graduates each.
• Flags designating the various nations of origin of this semester’s graduates will be carried in the opening procession. Along with students from the United States, the graduating class includes individuals from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Colombia and Nepal; the Ho-Chunk, Menominee and Oneida nations of Wisconsin; and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Nation.
• Undergraduate degree candidates range in age from 18 to 63, with an average age of 27. Sixty-three percent are under age 25.
• Seventy percent are female and 30 percent are male. The applicants’ racial and ethnic diversity mirrors the campus as a whole, with 92% coming from white backgrounds, 7% from U.S. minority groups and 1% from countries outside the United States.
• Local high schools with the most graduating UW-Green Bay seniors on Saturday are Preble, 18; Bay Port, 13; East and Southwest, 12 each; followed by Ashwaubenon, 8; and Pulaski and West, 7 each.
• Graduates also come from Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and West Virginia.
• Over a quarter of graduates – 28% — completed an associate’s degree prior to attending UW-Green Bay, with 25 coming from NWTC, 9 coming from UW-Marinette, 8 coming from UW-Manitowoc, and five each from UW-Fox Valley and Fox Valley Technical College.
• Of the graduates who started at UW-Green Bay as new freshmen, 10% are graduating in less than 4 years; 60% began college 4 ½ years ago and the remaining 30% initially started at least five years ago.