The University of Wisconsin-Platteville celebrated its 208th commencement, recognizing the class of 2022 and graduates of spring 2020, summer 2020, fall 2020 and spring 2021. The two ceremonies took place on May 14 in the Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.
Chancellor Dennis J. Shields acknowledged how navigating an academic path is not always easy and reflected on the perseverance it took for the graduating classes to earn their degrees.
“Today’s ceremony is not only a celebration of your transition from one chapter to the next of your life’s journey, but is also representative of the opportunity that you all share in making a positive difference in your lives, in the lives of others and in the world,” said Chancellor Shields. “Some of you have been patiently waiting for this moment since the early days of the pandemic. I applaud your collective patience and persistence in being here to participate in today’s graduation ceremony.”
Shields shared his own personal and professional journeys, while encouraging the graduates to become lifelong learners. This was Shields’ last commencement at UW-Platteville before becoming system president and chancellor at Southern University in Louisiana.
“Whenever I transition from one chapter to the next in my life, I cannot help but reflect on all that has changed since that chapter began. Self-reflection is a critical character trait that helps us navigate the road ahead,” he said. “Today is representative of only one chapter of the long journey ahead. Becoming a lifelong student is an essential skillset and one that will allow you to continue to grow and flourish in your professional lives hereafter. Using the lessons that you have learned during your time at Platteville to inform your future life is something that will continue to be relevant long after you walk across the stage today.”
In closing, Shields told the classes throughout their lives they will face adversity, but it’s how they tackle those obstacles. He also told the graduates to live in the moment as they embark on their own journeys outside of UW-Platteville.
“The way that you choose to handle that adversity will potentially allow you to learn more about yourself and continue to improve,” he said. “As we transition from one chapter of our lives to the next, it’s important to reflect on all that has changed within us.
It’s also important to be present in these important moments, to not live too often in the future, or the past. Today’s event is a celebration of an important milestone in our lives.”
Former Wisconsin Governor and former President of the University of Wisconsin System Tommy G. Thompson was scheduled to give the keynote address at both ceremonies but due to unforeseen circumstances was not able to attend. He sent both his regrets and his congratulations to the graduates.
The College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture ceremony featured 624 candidates, which included graduate programs and associate degree candidates. The College of Liberal Arts and Education and College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science ceremony recognized 647 candidates.
Since 1866, UW-Platteville has provided affordable and accessible education to students of Southwest Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and other parts of the country and world. Nearly 60,000 students have earned UW-Platteville diplomas.
UW-Platteville will finish its spring semester with finals May 16-20. Summer semester will run from May 24-Aug.12. Classes begin for the fall semester on Sept. 6.