UW-Platteville celebrates students at 190th commencement
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PLATTEVILLE — The University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s 190th commencement was held on Saturday, May 11 at the Williams Fieldhouse. The ceremonies for the colleges of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture; Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and Liberal Arts and Education, as well as the School of Graduate Studies totaled 1,081 candidates. BILSA, LAE and EMS had separate ceremonies. Graduate students participated with their respective colleges.
“Congratulations on your pursuit of excellence and for everything that you have accomplished during your academic journey,” Chancellor Dennis J. Shields told the students. “I trust that as you reflect on your time here, you have many good memories that made your university experience meaningful and life-changing.”
“Graduates, the education you received from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is the foundation you can build upon to accomplish extraordinary things,” added Chancellor Shields.
The principal speaker for the BILSA ceremony was Khalil “Kal” Kardous, while Steve Kleisath served as commencement marshal. Tyler Fisher was the senior speaker for the BILSA ceremony.
Kardous was also selected for the Distinguished Alumni Award in the College of BILSA, along with Joe Lomax and Ruth Joyce in the College of LAE and Kurt Kavajecz in the College of EMS.
Dr. David Van Buren served as the commencement marshal for the College of LAE, while Dr. Kevin P. Reilly was the principal speaker. The senior speaker for the College of LAE ceremony was Caleb Cerling.
The College of EMS featured Barbara Boldt as the principal speaker, with Larry Austin as the commencement marshal. Erin M. McAllister was the senior speaker for the College of EMS ceremony.
Kardous is a 1970 graduate of UW-Platteville and a native of Demascus, Syria. He founded Charlotte Copy Data in 1988 and until recently, he served as the company’s CEO. He currently resides in Charlotte, N.C.
Kleisath, professor emeritus of business administration, began at UW-Platteville in 1980. He retired from the university in May 2011. In addition to teaching, Kleisath served as the chair of the department of business. He has also co-authored and presented numerous papers on improved teaching techniques, teleconferencing and various business topics.
Kleisath currently resides in Platteville.
Fisher, a Rock Island, Ill. native, earned a bachelor’s in business administration with an emphasis in sales and marketing. He has taken advantage of the opportunities afforded on the UW-Platteville campus. He worked as a senior assistant, resident assistant, co-instructor of the First Year Experience course, participated as an intern with Welcome Weekend 2012, was a campus tour guide, delivered mail for the Department of Residence Life and was a member of the Welcome Crew for new student orientation in 2010.
Fisher was also active with the Student Ambassadors, Students Promoting Respect, and Alpha Lambda Delta and Phi Eta Sigma honors societies.
Van Buren began his career at UW-Platteville in 1976 as an assistant professor of criminal justice.
A former chair of the UW-Platteville Department of Criminal Justice, Van Buren rose through the ranks to become a tenured professor of criminal justice. He has twice been recognized for his outstanding teaching, receiving the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Teaching Excellence Award of the College of Liberal Arts and Education.
During his tenure at UW-Platteville, Van Buren was actively involved in shared governance, serving on the Faculty Senate, University Undergraduate Curriculum Commission, Academic Planning Council and University International Education Committee. He is a past president of the Wisconsin Criminal Justice Education Association.
Reilly began his tenure as the sixth president of the University of Wisconsin System on Sept. 1, 2004.
Reilly leads a UW System workforce of some 40,000 faculty, academic and classified staff, and graduate assistants. He is also responsible for the UW System’s $5.6 billion annual budget, made up of state support, federal funding, tuition and fees and private gifts.
Cerling, a native of Vesper, Wis., completed his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in three years from UW-Platteville following four years of service in the United States Marines Corps. While serving his country, Cerling was deployed twice; once onboard a ship throughout the southwestern pacific and the Middle East as well as seven months in Afghanistan.
Cerling served as a vehicle commander while in Afghanistan, where he was recognized with meritorious promotion to corporal and received a certificate of commendation based on strong organizational and leadership abilities. His duties included directing the operation and employment of one vehicle in Afghanistan as well as managing the weapons inventory for his platoon.
Following his active duty service, Cerling was drawn to UW-Platteville in 2010 for its solid criminal justice program.
While on campus, Cerling was an active member of the UW-Platteville Veterans Club.
Joyce earned a bachelor’s in business administration, with a minor in journalism from UW-Platteville in 1979. She later earned a master’s degree in counselor education from UW-Platteville in 1989.
Joyce currently works as the director of Academic Affairs and Advising for the Wisconsin School of Business at UW-Madison. She serves as central coordinator of services, programs and events related to the undergraduate business student academic and career progress through graduation. Joyce also works closely with the dean, associate dean and assistant dean for the BBA program and department chairs in the formulation and implementation of student academic service policies and procedures. She provides leadership for office operations related to academic affairs and advising for undergraduate business students.
Lomax has blazed a historic trail in the field of criminal justice. During his nearly 40 years of dedicated service, Lomax led the transformation of UW-Platteville’s criminal justice program. He retired at the conclusion of the fall 2012 semester.
In 1963, Lomax was hired as an officer with his hometown Beloit Police Department, the first African-American to hold the position.
In 1969, he joined the UW-Platteville faculty, where he was the first full-time African-American faculty member on staff.
There were just a few police science programs at institutes of higher learning in the country at the time, according to Lomax, and the federal government was just beginning to invest heavily in police science programs.
Austin is a 1971 graduate of UW-Platteville, where he earned a bachelor’s in civil engineering. During his time on campus, he was a member of the Grant County Sheriff’s Department Posse. Following graduation, he worked for the engineering department of the city of Des Moines, Iowa, for five-and-a-half years. He is currently self-employed and owner of Austin Engineering Enterprises LLC.
Austin is licensed as a civil engineer as well as being a Wisconsin certified soil tester and an appointed Grant County surveyor for the past 20 years.
Boldt earned a bachelor’s in mathematics and English, secondary education in 1976. She later received a Master of Science in educational leadership from Cardinal Stritch University.
Boldt, a Cobb, Wis. native, is currently a professor of mathematics at the College of Lake County in Grayslake, Ill. She has spent her career teaching mathematics courses, ranging from seventh grade through early college level.
While a student at UW-Platteville, Boldt was active as a member of the Exponent staff, a resident assistant in Dobson Hall and co-chairman of the Homecoming Committee.
McAllister, a chemistry major from Cresco, Iowa, enrolled at UW-Platteville after taking college level courses during high school in order to be closer to her mother, who had recently been diagnosed with colon cancer. McAllister developed a passion for the study of biochemistry of cancer after her mother passed away during the summer following her freshman year.
McAllister hopes to attend graduate school to study nutritional biochemistry, so she can take part in the research and development of biochemical strategies for the treatment and prevention of cancer.
Kavajecz is a 1983 alumnus of UW-Platteville with a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering.
Kavajecz has served as the plant manager of the Belvidere, Ill., assembly plant of Chrysler Group LLC for the past 13 years. He has 29 years of hands-on manufacturing experience in fast-paced automotive assembly operations and currently leads up to 4,800 employees.
With Chrysler Group, Kavajecz has led the launch of four new vehicles, three production shifts and the transformation from a traditional manufacturing site into one focused on World Class Manufacturing principles. In 2008, his plant was recognized as the most productive North American assembly plant in the small car and SUV segment as well as the number one overall car assembly plant in North America.
Effective May 1, he became the Director of Manufacturing Engineering General Assembly for North America and relocated to Auburn Hills, Mich.
Each ceremony can be viewed online at the UW-Platteville Media Technology Services website at www.uwplatt.edu/tvservices.
Written by: Dan Wackershauser, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, firstname.lastname@example.org
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