UW-Green Bay works to reimagine commencement ceremony

Green Bay, Wis.—As a part of ongoing efforts to keep students, faculty, and staff safe while also doing its part to contain community spread of the coronavirus, the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay today announced it has canceled its on-campus spring commencement ceremony and is working to reimagine a celebration honoring graduates. The University was slated to hold its 101st commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, 2020.

“Degrees can be conferred if all academic requirements are met regardless of whether or not we have a ceremony on campus,” said Interim Chancellor Sheryl Van Gruensven. “Commencement is one of the happiest days on a university campus. It is a day that is long-awaited, justly earned and richly savored by students, families, faculty and staff alike. While we are canceling the on-campus ceremony, make no mistake: UW-Green Bay will find a way to celebrate our students and their accomplishments following the end of this semester. There may not be an in-person ceremony, but there will be a celebration,” said Van Gruensven.

“As educators, we are disappointed and know our students will be disappointed, but the risk of continuing the spread of this powerful virus is simply too great,” Van Gruensven added.

UW-Green Bay Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Michael Alexander echoed the Chancellor’s comments. “We are working very hard to reinvent what Commencement will look like for 2020. Many ideas are being explored. The ceremony will look different but the sentiment remains: UW-Green Bay is supremely proud to provide the communities’ problem solvers and creative thinkers who are ready to help our region move forward. As we come out on the other side of this world crisis, we want everyone to see how fearless, resilient and generous these new leaders are. They are critical to helping us recover and to finding our way back as a community and world.”

About the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is a comprehensive public institution offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs to more than 8,700 students with campus locations in Green Bay, Marinette, Manitowoc and Sheboygan. Established in 1965 on the border of Green Bay, the University and its campuses are centers of cultural enrichment, innovation and learning. The Green Bay campus is home to one of the Midwest’s most prolific performing arts centers, a nationally recognized 4,000-seat student recreation center, D-I athletics, an award-winning nine-hole golf course and a five-mile recreational trail and arboretum, which is free and open to the public. This four-campus University transforms lives and communities through student-focused teaching and research, innovative learning opportunities, powerful connections and a problem-solving approach to education. UW-Green Bay’s main campus is centrally located, close to both the Door County resort area and the dynamic economies of Northeast Wisconsin, the Fox Valley region and the I-43 corridor. UW-Green Bay offers in-demand programs in science, engineering and technology; business; health, education and social welfare; and arts, humanities and social sciences. For more information, visit www.uwgb.edu.


Nominate a Student Commencement Speaker by March 20

UW-Green Bay is seeking nominations for student speakers for the May 2020 commencement ceremonies. One student will be selected for each of the two ceremonies, representing one of the colleges participating in that particular ceremony:

  • Morning Ceremony (9:30 a.m.)
    • Austin E. Cofrin School of Business
    • College of Science, Engineering and Technology
  • Afternoon Ceremony (2 p.m.)
    • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
    • College of Health, Education & Social Welfare

Please nominate one or more students for this honor. Nominees must be graduating in May or August. Please send your nominations to Claudia Guzmán, via e-mail (guzmanc@uwgb.edu) by Friday, March 20, 2020 and include the following information:

  1. Student’s Name
  2. Student’s College
  3. Student’s Major(s)/Minor(s)
  4. Cumulative GPA
  5. Postgraduate Plans
  6. Brief Description of Student’s Accomplishments
  7. Other Reasons Why This Student Should be Recognized
  8. The Names of All Faculty Who Support This Nomination

This is the minimum amount of information required to nominate a student.  Please feel free to provide as much additional information as you would like to support your nomination(s).

Thank you for your assistance with identifying potential students for this most special designation and honor. Your efforts are appreciated.

Honored UW-Green Bay Graduate Serving in Kuwait | Seehafer News

Many area colleges held their winter commencement ceremonies over the weekend, including UW-Green Bay. As a part of their ceremony, they aired a video, celebrating one of their recent graduates. …He wrote a letter to the students at UWGB, which said in part, “The fact that they took time to make a video for me during the commencement ceremony shows just how much they value their students – it meant a lot to me!” See more via UWGB Honor Graduate Serving in Kuwait | Seehafer News.

Video: Platinum Shoe Toss

It’s a tradition of UW-Green Bay graduates to leave a bit of themselves behind as they depart campus. Many toss a pair of old sneakers into the “Shoe Tree.” Symbolic to UW-Green Bay’s 100th Commencement, student speaker Hannah Malmberg tossed her platinum-coated sneakers .

Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.

Hannah Malmberg Throwing Platinum Shoes

– Photos by Dan Moore, Marketing and University Communication

De Pere soldier earns master’s degree while serving past year in Afghanistan | WLUK

One week after returning from a nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan, Andrea Ackerman is set to walk across UW-Green Bay’s graduation stage. “You know the mission always comes first, so you’re trying to balance that with homework,” said Ackerman, a first lieutenant with the 2nd battalion, 127th Infantry. Ackerman, who is from De Pere, was halfway through her master’s program when she found out she was being deployed for her second time with the Wisconsin National Guard. “If Andrea and others are willing to go halfway across the world into harm’s way and serve our country, the least we can do is find ways to serve them,” said Tim Kaufman, Ackerman’s professor and the chair of UW-Green Bay’s graduate studies program. See more via De Pere soldier earns master’s degree while serving past year in Afghanistan | WLUK.

Symbolic shoe tree celebrates UW-Green Bay’s graduating students | WLUK

The student-speaker for UW-Green Bay’s graduating class took part in a special tradition Friday. Hannah Malmberg tossed her platinum-coated shoes into what’s known as the “shoe tree” on campus. It’s symbolic of the graduates leaving a piece of themselves behind as they depart campus. See more via Symbolic shoe tree celebrates UW-Green Bay’s graduating students | WLUK.

Press-Gazette: UW-Green Bay commencement honors 100th graduating class

It started humbly in the UW Center’s Deckner Gymnasium in June 1970. Seventy-eight members of the first graduating class received their diplomas from the fledgling University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Twice a year since, the university community has gathered to honor and congratulate graduates in a formal ceremony. The Green Bay Press-Gazette had coverage. See UW-Green Bay commencement honors 100th graduating class.

UW-Green Bay gives shoutout to graduate serving overseas

UW-Green Bay shared a video after Saturday’s commencement ceremony, celebrating Specialist Dakota Vanidestine who is overseas in Kuwait. Vanidestine earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. He is from Marinette, but was living in Green Bay when he found out about his deployment in August this year. He is currently serving at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait through the Army Reserve. He’s attached to the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command while on this deployment. See more via UWGB gives shoutout to graduate serving overseas.