UW–Madison 2018 Spring Commencement Saturday May 12, 2018

>>Please rise for the 2018 Spring Commencement
Academic Processional. The processional is led by John Witte, an
alum from the class of 1968, and a member of the Half Century Badgers, a proud representative
of all of our Badgers around the world. [Trumpets] (Processional music) (Applause) Please remain standing for the singing of our national anthem, performed by Master of
Music, vocal performance, class of 2018 degree candidate,
Katie Anderson. O, say, can you see
by the dawn’s early light what so proudly we hail’d
at the twilight’s last gleaming whose broad stripes and bright stars
thro’ the perilous fight o’er the ramparts we watch’d,
were so gallantly streaming and the rockets’ red glare,
the bombs bursting in air, gave proof thro’ the night
that our flag was still there O say, does that star-spangled banner yet
wave o’er the land of the free and the home of
the brave (Applause)>>Chancellor:
Please be seated. Good afternoon, and welcome to Camp Randall
Stadium and the 165th Spring Commencement of the University of Wisconsin at Madison. (Applause) Thank you to Katie Anderson, for that beautiful performance and, thanks to Professor Leckrone
and the UW Band for leading us in. (Applause) Today, more than 7,000 bachelor’s, master’s, and law degree candidates will become alumni
of one of the greatest universities in the world making the Class of 2018 one of the
largest in our history. And by the way, 6,520 of you give or take
a few are right here in the stadium. (Applause) As you can see, the head of the national weather service is a three-time UW alum, so when we
told him we didn’t want rain, he delivered! (Applause) Friends and family have the best seats in the house. That’s where fans have been cheering on
the Badgers for 101 years and just for the record, that very first game in Camp Randall,
101 years ago, was a shutout when we trounced Minnesota. (Applause) To all of you who have supported our graduates on this amazing journey: let me ask all of
our graduates here to join me in applauding, the friends, families and supporters out there
in the stands. (Applause) Class of 2018: It’s been an experience. This class has set new records for community
service and helped make UW–Madison the #1 public university in the nation for students
studying abroad. You’ve also helped us consume 400,000 gallons
of Babcock ice cream, battled from Bascom in an epic snowball fight, and inspired an explosion of UW memes
powered by one of today’s graduates. Shane Linden wherever you are out there I
trust that the MilkChugging Teens is going to continue to drive (Cheering) the ‘meme’
economy. (Cheering and Applause) (Laughter) You have all worked harder than you ever thought
you could. One member of the Class of 2018 has even set
what might be a new record for the number of majors. Daniel Quigley liked Anthropology, Astronomy,
Linguistics, Mathematics, and Physics so much he couldn’t choose between them, so he’s
majored in all five. (Applause) And I might note, Daniel is also the first generation in his family to earn a college
degree. So, congratulations, Daniel! (Applause) The last few years have been a particularly
good time to be a Badger. Many of you remember our Final Four victory
over Kentucky in your freshman year. (Cheering) That was pretty unforgettable. Not to mention the back-to-back trips to the
Women’s Frozen Four and the football bowl games. You have helped teach the nation the meaning
of Jump Around! But I also want to recognize that for some
here this is also a very bitter sweet moment. There are members of this class who passed away before graduation. They were friends, they were colleagues, and
I want to pay tribute to their memory as well. One of today’s graduates spoke last month
to a group of high school students who was visiting campus. Ross Dahlke told them how odd it feels when
people ask him what it’s like to be entering the ‘real world’. He said: “UW grads don’t need to enter the
real world, because we never left it.” You’ve been educated in the proud tradition
of the Wisconsin Idea our commitment to public service. Which is why each of you has spent the last
four years learning to address real-world problems. Brianna Young came to UW as a Posse-student
(Cheering) — Brianna came as a Posse student to study nursing, but some of her most … (Cheering) the nursing grads are always wild but some of Brianna’s
most meaningful work has happened outside the classroom, working to change public perceptions
about the nursing profession and mentoring students interested in healthcare. Last year, Brianna became the first undergraduate
ever selected for our Outstanding Women of Color Award. Congratulations, Brianna! (Applause) Kai Rasmussen had a life changing experience when he started working in our astrobotany
lab. He thought figuring out how to grow plants
in outer space would be challenging but it turned out to be an even bigger challenge
when trying to explain to his family and his friends what exactly he was doing. (Laughter)
So, he launched a one-man campaign to explain astrobotany, designed T-shirts
started a YouTube talk show, even wrote a hip-hop song and got it played at the Rock
and Roll Hall of Fame. So, Kai, if astrobotany doesn’t work out,
I suggest a career in public relations. You’d be great. (Applause) For Kai, for Brianna for every one of you out there — the real world is right here. And my question to you is:
How will you stay engaged with that world once you leave this place? It actually gets a little bit harder to make
time for ‘real world’ problems when you’re focused on graduate school or building your
career and your life … but the world needs you. So, I want to offer you three pieces of advice. First, think small. You don’t have to end world hunger or save
the planet at least, not right away… Find something close by that you care about
and that you can help with in some way. For Angeline Mboutngam that’s been supporting
and advocating for nontraditional students. Angeline is an immigrant from a small village
in Cameroon where girls had little chance for an education. (Applause) She learned English not many years ago and earned her degree while raising four children. Congratulations Angeline! (Applause) Like Angeline, pick something to work on that you care about and are able to make time for
in your life. It’s always satisfying to work on something,
even if it’s something small, that’s a little bigger than yourself. Second, unplug once in a while. You will be
amazed how much time you suddenly have when you aren’t always on that phone and I promise
that the Reddit memes will still be there when you return. You need time to think when you’re not always
distracted by videos or text messages. This is precious time, and make sure you find
it in your life. And, third, whenever you have the chance,
help somebody else learn something new. You will find that teachers learn as much
from their students as students learn from their teachers. And you don’t have to be an education major
to be a teacher you just have to care deeply about something. When Andrew Hanson, Justin Beck, and Forrest
Woolworth sat where you are sitting just a few years ago, their first thought was “We
care deeply about playing video games.” And, like many of you, they had a fair amount
of experience. But they’d noticed there weren’t enough games
they could play on their phones — and the ones they tried weren’t all that fun. With degrees in computer engineering and computer
science, they decided they could do better. Today, they have a business here in Madison
called Per Blue that designs video games. They’ve made headlines all over the country,
they’ve been honored at the White House for their work in support of entrepreneurs, and
they’re now collaborating with Disney on a new roleplaying game. Andrew, Justin, and Forrest are successful
business executives, and entrepreneurs, but their favorite — and perhaps their most important
role — is teacher. They advise young entrepreneurs, mentor UW
students and gues-tlecture on campus. They understand that a credential from a top
university is more than a ticket to a great career or graduate school… It’s a passport to a new world of opportunities
to share what you have learned and moving from being a student to being a teacher. Fifty-three years ago, one of the greatest
teachers in our history Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke just down the road at the Stock
Pavilion. He thanked our students and faculty for their
work to register voters and urged the audience to stay committed. As our nation marks the 50th anniversary of
Dr. King’s death, I want you to take a moment to contemplate what he called “Life’s most
persistent and urgent question.” That is:
What are you going to do for others? If you keep asking that question, you will
keep finding ways to use your knowledge and your skills to make the real world just a
little bit better. So, we wish you all the best. As you move into the next phase of your life,
keep in touch. Let us know how you’re doing. And remember come back and visit. You will always be a part of the University
of Wisconsin, and I hope that University of Wisconsin will always be a part of you. I can’t wait to hear what all of you accomplish
in the years ahead. Congratulations to the Class of 2018! On, Wisconsin! (Applause) Now, if you have a phone with you,
this time you can take it out. We’re going to do one last, unofficial portrait
with you and your classmates and put together the best set of class photos you have ever
seen. I want every one of you to take a selfie or
a picture with the classmates around you and tweet it with hashtag UWgrad. Parents, grandparents, family, friends that
means all of you. We’re going to collect them and post them. And while you’re doing that David and I
are going to take our own photo from up here. The Class of 2018 is going to have the best
collection of commencement photos and memories we have ever created. So be sure to visit the web and see all of
those pictures. I now want to introduce Lori Berquam, interim
vice chancellor of student affairs, dean of students, and our Master of Ceremonies this
morning. Lori is a proud first-generation college graduate
who received a B.S. in Mathematics and Psychology from Truman State University, a master’s degree
from UW–La Crosse, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership from Colorado State. As many of you know, after 13 years as dean
of students, this is Lori’s last commencement ceremony at UW–Madison. She’s been selected for a fellowship for
the Emerging Higher Education Leaders program at the American Council on Education and will
be leaving campus this summer. We’re very proud of her and support her in
this next step on her career. During her time on campus, Lori has been known
for some fun-loving videos, and I admit I’m going to miss those. She has focused her work on critical issues,
such as student safety, bias incidents, diversity and inclusion, sexual assault, and the expansion
of services to marginalized students. Lori, I want to thank you for all that you
have done for our students and for our community. Please join me in a warm welcome for Lori
Berquam. (Applause) Crowd>>
No! Don’t go!>>Dean Berquam:
Whoo! Good afternoon, graduates. Welcome to Camp Randall Stadium and to the
2018 Spring Commencement of the University of Wisconsin–Madison. We brought commencement back to Camp Randall
about four years ago, reestablishing a longtime tradition. It’s great to be gathered as a community,
in one place, with our graduates along with their families, loved ones, and friends, to
celebrate the culmination of your Wisconsin Experience. My time as dean of students is coming to a
close, and like you, I’m entering the unknown. But it’s also very exciting. As you begin your next adventure, I hope you’ll
take risks, and won’t be afraid to try new things. I have heard a lot around campus: “Don’t Go.” (Laughter)
Crowd>>No! Don’t go!>>Lori: But, alas, I must, and I am reminded that life is short. Follow your dreams. That’s my advice to you, new graduates. Don’t be afraid to go and follow your dreams. Now at this time, it is my pleasure to introduce
the members of our official party. I’m going to ask each of them to stand when
their name is called and remain standing. And I’ll ask the audience to please hold your
applause until all members of the party have been introduced. Chancellor Rebecca Blank Regina Millner, UW System Board of Regents Margaret Raymond, dean of the Law School William Karpus, dean of the Graduate School Barry Gerhart, interim dean of the Wisconsin
School of Business Steven Swanson, dean of the School of Pharmacy David Muir, our keynote speaker Linda Scott, dean of the School of Nursing Karl Scholz, dean of the College of Letters and Science Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology Kathryn VandenBosch, dean of the College of
Agricultural and Life Sciences Norman Drinkwater, interim vice chancellor
for Research and Graduate Education Laurent Heller, vice chancellor for Finance
and Administration Raymond Taffora, vice chancellor for legal
affairs Charles Hoslet, vice chancellor for University
Relations Ian Robertson, dean of the College of Engineering Diana Hess, dean of the college of education Scott Owczarek, Registrar Ariela Rivkin, senior class president Trina La Susa, senior class vice president Rheann Engelke, senior class events director Joshua Gutzmann, senior class philanthropy
director Haley Young, senior class communications director Mark Markel, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine Robert Golden, dean of the School of Medicine and Public Health Guido Podesta, vice provost and dean of the International Division Jeffrey Russell, dean of the Division of Continuing Studies John Baldacchino, director of the Arts Institute Paul Robbins, director of the Nelson Institute
for Environmental Studies Anja Wanner, Chair of the University Committee,
which is the executive committee of the Faculty Senate, and Professor of English Steve Smith, Secretary of the Faculty Peter Kies, Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni
Association Board Member I’d also, at this time, like to ask the members
of our faculty seated on stage to please stand. And finally, would the graduates who were
chosen by their dean to represent their school or college by carrying its flag in the academic
procession, please stand. Please join me in welcoming all of these distinguished
individuals. (Applause) Now it is my honor to introduce Regina Millner, a member, and past-president, of the University
of Wisconsin System Board of Regents. Regina is a two-time UW alum who earned both
a law degree and a master’s degree in real estate and urban land economics from UW–Madison. Her academic achievements are all the more
noteworthy because she came to us as a nontraditional student, returning to school as a single mom
with three children. Since she graduated, Regina has continued
to be very involved with UW–Madison. She’s served as president of the Wisconsin
Alumni Association and on the Athletic Board as a community member. She brings a high level of passion and energy
to everything she does. Upon her appointment to the UW Board of Regents
in 2012, she toured every one of the UW System’s 13 four-year colleges, where she listened
to students, faculty, staff, and administrators. Her energy, and her willingness to listen
and learn, have marked her service on the Board of Regents. I am honored to present Regent Regina Millner. (Applause)>>Regent Millner:
Thank you, Lori. And, yes, you will be missed. Well, good afternoon. On this special occasion, and on behalf of
my Regent colleagues and of UW System President Ray Cross, I offer each of you my sincere
congratulations. Today is an important accomplishment. It is the culmination of years of hard work,
long hours of studying, and so many sacrifices by you and those who care for you. Bravo! Let me also extend a special welcome to the
family and friends joining us for this celebration. We all know that many people along the way
helped these graduates get to where they are today, providing support in many ways, both
big and small, seen and unseen. And we shouldn’t forget your professors and
so many others who are part of the UW community who have been dedicated to each of your successes. We have all had a stake in your reaching this
big day, and we have already thanked them — and we look forward to thinking about them
and thanking them in the years to come. But today, it’s really about our new graduates. You, the Class of 2018, you’ve done it. You are earning a prestigious degree from
a world-class university. You are beginning the next stage of your life. Each of you has your own personal story of
your journey to this moment. Many of you have come by the traditional route,
right out of high school and onto college. For others, the path may have been having
more detours and perhaps more responsibilities. I know mine was such a route. But, today, I am going to single out one of
today’s graduates, and I hope he forgives me. Sam Carlson (Cheering) — we have a vocal
group from the nurse’s department. Sam Carlson came to UW–Madison having already
seen much of the world. During five years in the U.S. Air Force, the
Madison native served tours of duty in Japan, Kuwait and Iraq. Post-military, he lived in Kenya, where he
saw children orphaned by HIV and AIDS forced into child labor or worse. He and two others, including a Kenyan social
worker, started a nonprofit that pays the educational costs so that vulnerable Kenyan
students can afford to go to school. Today, Action Two Africa is a registered international
NGO that is helping dozens of Kenyan families. Sam will graduate this month with a bachelor’s
degree in nursing. (Cheering and Applause) And in the spirit of Wisconsin, the Wisconsin Idea, he hopes to use his nursing to provide
quality healthcare to fellow military veterans. Congratulations, Sam! (Applause)
And we all know where he is sitting! Sam’s story is, of course, unique and his
own — but it also serves both as a reminder and a vision of what a UW education means. Like Sam, you are all now at the finish line
— which, as it turns out, is really a starting gate. Truly a time to take stock and think about
the future. Whatever your next move, make it count. Embrace your next stage of life — and each
succeeding stage — with all the passion you can muster. Savor it. Take advantage of it. Give it all you’ve got. You’ll never regret it — and you will regret
investing anything less. You all know our world is changing quickly,
as is higher education. But one thing that hasn’t changed — and won’t
change — is the importance of a quality institution, where dedicated and creative faculty inspire
students to want more, where innovative research expands possibilities, where fellow students
challenge and encourage their peers. Just think how UW–Madison’s magnificent
faculty and staff help you discover who you are. Consider how university research touches communities
throughout our state. This wonderful university is a point of pride
for every resident in the State of Wisconsin. And as graduates, we are all part of the University
of Wisconsin story. And now you can help ensure that that story
is told, a story that spans more than 170 years. A story of a land-grant college, one of the
first. Our UW history is one of innovation, inclusion
and, most important, the Wisconsin Idea. Our university boundaries are the boundaries
of our state, the nation, and now the world. I am going to close now by sharing with you
one of my favorite quotes from American anthropologist Margaret Mead. She once said, “Never doubt a small group
of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I believe that. I believe that you, the UW class of 2018,
has the potential, the passion, and the power to change the world. I’m excited to see what your future holds. Congratulations, again, to all the graduates,
to their family and friends that are here with us today, and who can’t be here today,
and on, Wisconsin. (Applause)>>Dean Berquam:
Thank you, Regent Millner, for your remarks. I would now like to introduce Trina La Susa,
who will welcome our keynote speaker. Trina, is from West Bend, Wisconsin. She is the vice president of the class of
2018. Her time with us has been a wonderful example
of what we call the Wisconsin Experience, which is our vision of a total student experience,
one that incorporates learning inside the classroom and outside the classroom. Trina has turned her passion for the planet
into a legacy of environmental initiatives that will help benefit UW students for years
to come. She compiled a 40-page tool kit to help our
residence hall staff members lead activities and discussions on sustainability. She is the host and executive producer of
a weekly environmental talk show on our student run radio station, WSUM. And she helps produce a newsletter of original
articles for our campus Office of Sustainability, a role shell continue to fill throughout the
summer. Today, she is earning her bachelor’s degree
in journalism and strategic communications with a certificate in sustainability. I am delighted to invite Trina to introduce
our keynote speaker. (Applause)>>Trina La Susa:
Thank you for the kind words, Lori. Class of 2018, I see
faces of excitement and relentless curiosity. How wonderful it is to be sitting together
in Camp Randall, united by our achievement of graduating from a world-renowned university. As graduates of the UW System, we are bound
together by the historic Wisconsin Idea, the notion that what we learn on this campus is
meant to be applied to enrich the world around us. That’s why this year’s senior class pays tribute
to the Wisconsin Idea and supports future Badgers by funding the Wisconsin Idea Scholarship
as our senior class gift. It is a significant gesture of graduating
Badgers giving back to future Badgers. Our keynote speaker, David Muir, exemplifies
the essence of the Wisconsin Idea. Like us, he too graduated from a top university,
and he is using his experiences and knowledge to positively impact the world around him. David has won multiple Emmy and Edward R.
Murrow awards for his national and international journalism. He seeks the truth and is fearless about going
where the news takes him. From Tahrir Square in the middle of the revolution,
to Tehran, to Mogadishu, to the Syrian border. And David’s interviews often make global headlines,
from the first interview with President Trump in the Oval Office to his Emmy Award-winning
town hall meeting with Barack Obama on policing and race in this country. David is recognized as one of our most visible
broadcast journalists. In fact, World News Tonight with David Muir
is the most-watched newscast in America for the first time since Peter Jennings. (Applause) As a fellow journalist, it is my distinct pleasure to introduce our 2018 Spring Commencement
speaker. Usually, he comes to you from the world headquarters
of ABC News. Today, we have him all to ourselves. From Camp Randall Stadium, this is David Muir. (Applause) (Wolf whistling in the audience)
(Laughter)>>David Muir:
Thank you. I love you too. You know I came to celebrate your academic
achievements, but I also came because the University of Wisconsin–Madison, is supposed
to be a lot of fun. (Cheering) I’m told I have to wait a little later in the day. Thank you, Trina, for that kind introduction. Thank you to Chancellor Blank. Thank you to the senior class officers for
inviting me to speak. And, really, thank you for that stop at Mickies
Dairy Bar today. (Cheering) Sorry if I cut the line. I pulled a little rank with the Chancellor. They had a table waiting and the scrambler,
and the pancakes, and the milk shake. (Laughter)
But, again, I’m going to stay here for a little later — I hear it gets better. It’s a privilege to be here with so many
of you. The proud parents, the stepparents, the family
members, the friends, and, of course, it is a true honor for me to be here to celebrate
the Class of 2018. I know the senior class officers were likely
thinking, you know, who should we get this year? It has to be someone with a lot of time on
their hands, someone with nothing to talk about lately. There’s really nothing going on these days
in the news. (Laughter)
Let me just say this though. You will never forget what happened in the
world while you were a student here. The election you witnessed, and no matter
where you stand, who you voted for, what your passions are, these are historic times we
find ourselves in. And, you know, the one thing that I learned
over the last couple of years of doing the news is that when you get a chance to come
to Wisconsin, you come. You all are important. (Laughter)
(Cheering and Applause) You know, in all honesty — No. In all honesty — I do want to say this: What
a time to be going out into this country, out into this world, and we need your energy,
your spirit, your smarts more than ever. And I know that there are aspiring-journalists
you put them right here in front of me. (Cheering)
And I would say to you all sitting here today — and I know they move the schools around
from year to year — thank you for the journalism for me. But there’s no more important a time than
right now to be a journalist, to seek the truth. But I want to tell everybody here in the stadium
today that this principle applies to so many disciplines, to so many roles. And just as you have done here as Badgers
in your classrooms, I want you to continue to ask the tough questions long after you
leave this incredible university. I’m fully aware that as I stand up here
before you today, before you and your family and your friends, this day is filled with
excitement, with wonder. But, undoubtedly, it is filled with tremendous
fear. Admit it. Fear of the unknown, fear of finding that
first job, fear over whether it will all work out just exactly as you have it planned. Well, I’m here today, I hope, to encourage
you really to embrace the fear. There will be so many moments in your life
when you walk through a door and into something unknown, something new. And that sense of fear really will overwhelm
you. And I was thinking, as I was preparing these
remarks over the last couple of weeks, of one of my earliest memories of fear, one of
those first doorways I had to walk through. And the memory comes from childhood. I was just four years old. I remember the school bus coming to pick me
up I kid you not — for the first day of kindergarten. I grew up in Upstate New York, and so that
bus would travel over the hills and through the winding back roads before arriving at
school. And I had plenty of time on that bus to second
guess this decision to go to kindergarten. (Laughter) I remember arriving at the school and precisely where that bus came to a halt. I sat in my seat. I did not move. I let everybody else get off the bus. One by one the students filed off, and there
I sat. And the bus driver, she looked at me, and
she knew she had on her hands a boy who did not want to go to school. She made a deal with me. She called me up. She said she would walk me to that kindergarten
class. She said she’d wait at the door, and if
I didn’t like it, I could turn around, and she would take me home. So, we walked down that hallway together — I
will never forget it — right to that kindergarten doorway, and I walked into that room. I took about 10 steps in, I looked around
me — those little chairs — and then I decided this is definitely not for me. (Laughter) Definitely not. I turned around, I raced back to that door,
and I looked down the hallway, and there was no bus driver. I could see her leaving the building. (Laughter) How could she? But you know what, she did exactly what she
was supposed to do. She led me up to that door, and the rest of
the work was mine. So here we are today. Your professors, your coaches, your parents,
they’ve all helped you walk up to that door. And the question right here as we sit: What
will you do when you walk through it? As a journalist, as Trina mentioned, I have
had the opportunity, the privilege, to report from all over the world, and I want to share
with you it’s always the children who remind me that the vast majority of people across
the globe and across this country share similar hopes and dreams. That we actually have far more in common than
what separates us. These are universal hopes. And it was four years ago, I was reporting
from the Syrian border on the child refugees who had no choice but to leave their country
because of the war. Their homes had been bombed — their schools
destroyed — their families were really chased out by the violence. They left behind their schools, their playgrounds,
their bedrooms, everything they owned, and they were now living in tents with their families. And when the sun came up, I was there to witness
as these children woke up and they said goodbye to their parents. It was the children — these child refugees
— who were going out to work. Not the parents. Because the farmers there would hire the children. They could pay them less. And after six or seven hours in the fields,
I watched as the children then skipped across the field on their way to a makeshift school. Imagine that? A seven-hour day picking potatoes in the fields
and then a full day of school. And they did it with smiles on their faces. The skipped across that field, they were singing,
and I know each of them were just simply hopeful that one day they would get their childhood
back. Some of the children I met were orphans, their
parents did not get out of Syria. And I will never forgot that those children
— there were quite a few of them — that would just look up at me and put their arms
out, and I would pick them up. And on the wall of the orphanage that I walked
through, I’ll never forget two words that were sketched right into the wall, with a
little paint brush — they said, “love me.” I still carry the photos of those children
on my iPhone with me every day. I have it right here in front of me. And I know that as I sit here today with all
of you, a world away, those children all have similar hopes and dreams. It was just a couple of weeks ago — I was
back in Beirut for the air strikes on Syria — and while we were there I decided I want
to go try to find one of these kids that we met so many years ago, one of these refugees. His mother had been a teacher in Syria, his
father had been a government worker, and when I met them, he was now fixing tires inside
a garage that he had found. And that boy, Rami, was sitting in the garage
helping his dad. So, years later — this was just a couple
weeks ago — we went out to find him. And we pulled into that garage. And Rami’s father looked at us — giant smile. Years later. He remembered us immediately, gave me a hug,
and he told me that Rami was out in the soccer fields. So, we spent the afternoon driving through
Beirut looking for little Rami. Field after field we were looking. And the sun went down, and finally we found
Rami. He’s now 16. And his father told me that their resettlement
application had just been approved for New Zealand, and that Rami would Google on his
phone at night, New Zealand, just to see images of where he might be one day. So eager, so hopeful, that he’ll go to school,
and he’ll get a job. And I share with you Rami’s story here today,
and the stories of those children who reached up to me, hoping I would just lift them up
into my arms, because I think that it really reminds all of us of what we have in common
with people — really all over the world — the hope of school — the hope of a life ahead
with opportunity. I hear it all the time right here in America. For years we’ve been traveling the country,
reporting on families, businesses, determined to make things here. The series is “Made in America.” And we didn’t start out by telling people
to only buy in America. We all know our economy doesn’t work that
way, were in a global economy, but we thought why not get the conversation started? Have people check a label now and then. It might help a family member or struggling
business owner down the street. So, we shot a “Made in America” here in
Madison this morning, and we’ll do another one this afternoon, before we get on that
plane. And what I’ve heard across the country reminds
me that in a nation where there are really so many competing voices right now, that there’s
actually so much more that we have in common. And I hear from so many proud parents, like
the ones who are sitting here. I know moms, dads, stepmoms, stepdads — that
just want an opportunity for their children, for all of you sitting before us today. And what I sense, as I report in this country,
is that the young people in this country, your time is here. There is no question. You are the generation who will have your
voices heard. I see it in the faces of the young people
who are on the news every night. They’re taking a stand. They want to make their communities safer. They want to make them smarter, more connected,
not more divided. And as I’ve sat here and listened to these
speeches already today — after all, isn’t that the Wisconsin idea? The idea that there is no border. No border here at the university — that you’re
part of the greater community here in Madison — part of this state —
part of this country — part of the world. So, I firmly believe that one of the great
by-products of this really tumultuous time in our country is a generation sitting right
here before me more engaged than ever. Every night — I do believe that. (Applause) Every night on the news I often say I’m lucky enough to have a conversation with America,
and it’s a true privilege to sort of ask the questions, to call out really the hypocrisy
on all sides. But I’m here to say that that’s not just
my job. That’s our job as Americans to be engaged
in the world around us. I just happen to put on that microphone every
night. But you know we live in an age when we all
have the power to ask questions. We all have the power to make change. And no matter what you choose to do after
you leave this great university, I hope you’ll remember those kids who reached up to me to
pick them up. They didn’t have a voice that day. But all of you sitting right here have a voice. You know we all use our phones to document
our own lives, but I’m going to challenge you today, not just to take pictures of yourselves,
but to aim your cameras, your phones, on the people in your community, on the victories,
the small triumphs. Use your voice to help those who might need
a little help with theirs. I brought my phone here, in front of me, and
I thought I would test this out. I’m going to point my phone on the biggest
victory in front of us here today, which is all of you. It’s going to be the best Insta story ever! (Laughter)
Let me hear what you’ve got! (Cheering and Applause) That’s the sound of Badgers about to change the world! (Applause) And, yes, that’s just a tiny warmup. I’m ready to jump around. (Laughter)
But I do — I do want you to remember what I said about fear. I want you to embrace the fear. It’s inevitable, and it’s a true sign of
the excitement of the unknown, the challenge to come. I remember being a kid, playing in the back
yard. I was the only kid in the neighborhood who
would go inside when the news came on to watch Peter Jennings. (Laughter) I’m still a nerd. And it’s not lost on me that I now sit in
Peter Jennings’ chair, and I say that to you today not to pat myself on the back, but to
tell you that that chair is waiting for you. There are so many roles out there waiting
for you. But there will be fear. On my first night anchoring the national news,
my heart pounded louder than the words coming out of my mouth, but I kept going. I have no idea what I said, but I kept going. (Laughter)
And I promise you, you will too. And so, I say to you all today — remember
the boys and girls — those child refugees who reached up to me with their arms hoping
I would just lift them up. And remember today how much we truly have
in common — our hopes and dreams — instead of what sets us apart. And I really refuse to believe that as a country,
and your generation in particular, will not stand for the same old divisions. I think you’ve had enough of that. You are the ones who will take what you’ve
learned here and set out on great new adventures. You will set the examples for the rest of
us, and I’m convinced you will conquer your fear. As I started out, for me it was that kindergarten
doorway, and the bus driver walking me up to the door and leaving the rest to me. Your parents, your family, your professors,
your fellow Badgers — right here in this stadium — have all helped you to get to that
door, to get to this moment. Now it’s just time to walk through the doorway. And if you look back behind you when you walk
through that door, for me it was that bus driver I saw, but I hope that you’ll see
every single one of us cheering you on, myself included. I’ll be so proud if one day my travels bring
me to where ever you might end up, whatever community you begin to call your home, to
celebrate whatever you undoubtedly will accomplish, how your choices will better the community
you call home, and if, by chance, our paths happen to cross again, we will celebrate together
the Badger way. And we will celebrate the fear you faced down
to make it all happen. On, Wisconsin. (Applause) Thank you. Thank you so much. (Applause)>>Dean Berquam: Thank you for those inspiring words, Mr. Muir. Our graduates, I know, appreciated them. At yesterday’s commencement ceremony for doctoral
degree candidates, we awarded three honorary degrees. These degrees are awarded not for the completion
of a course of study, but for living an extraordinary life. Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a highly regarded
diplomat who helped shape U.S. foreign policy in Africa and intervened in numerous humanitarian
crises, was named an Honorary Doctor of Law. David Fahey, a groundbreaking atmospheric
scientist whose research on ozone depletion has prevented great harm to life on Earth,
was named an Honorary Doctor of Science. And Jerome Chazen, an esteemed businessperson
and philanthropist who cofounded the Liz Claiborne company and spearheaded efforts to eradicate
domestic violence, was named an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. I encourage you to read the profiles in the
program of these remarkable people, all three of whom happen to be UW–Madison graduates. I think you will agree that they richly deserve
this special recognition. Please give them a round of applause. (Applause)>>Chancellor:
It’s the magic podium. (Laughter) Now for the conferral of our graduate degrees. I call upon Margaret Raymond, dean of the
Law School.>>Dean Raymond:
Candidates for the degrees Doctor of Juridical Science, Juris Doctor, Master of Laws and Master of
Laws-Legal Institutions will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor Blank: Dean Raymond.>>Dean Raymond: These scholars have successfully completed the requirements of the courses in law and emerge ready to make the world a more just
place. Upon the recommendation of the faculty of
the Law School, I present these candidates for degrees.>>Chancellor:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the Law School and under the authority granted
by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, I confer upon you the degree Doctor
of Juridical Science, Juris Doctor, Master of Laws or Master of Laws-Legal Institutions. Please join me in recognizing our law degree
candidates. (Applause) Candidates may be seated. I would now like to call upon William Karpus,
dean of the Graduate School who will present the candidates for master’s degrees.>>Dean Karpus:
Candidates for master’s degrees will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Karpus.>>Dean Karpus:
On the recommendation of the graduate faculty, I present these candidates for the master’s
degree in their respective fields: Master of Accountancy
Master of Arts Master of Business Administration
Master of Engineering Master of International Public Affairs
Master of Music Master of Professional French Studies
Master of Public Affairs Master of Science
And Master of Social Work>>Chancellor:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the Graduate School and under the authority granted
by the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, you will be admitted each to the
appropriate degree. Please join me in recognizing the achievements
of our master’s degree candidates. (Applause) Candidates may be seated.>>Dean Berquam:
I would now like to introduce Ariela Rivkin, who will deliver remarks on behalf of the
senior class. Ariela, of Teaneck, New Jersey, is president
of the class of 2018 and is earning a bachelor’s degree today in Russian language and comparative
literature with a certificate in Jewish studies. She leaves us having made UW–Madison a more
thoughtful and compassionate place through her dynamic leadership and commitment to diverse
views. She served two years as an elected student
government representative and two years as chair of the committee that allocates funds
to student organizations. During her time in Madison, she has stayed
connected to her faith roots in the Jewish community by taking on multiple roles at UW
Hillel, where she currently serves as a student representative on the center’s board of directors. She has been a forceful advocate not just for Jewish students but for marginalized students in general, even when the role has not been
easy or popular. She intends to continue her interest in public
policy and the equitable treatment of all people by studying international human rights
law at Boston University School of Law. I am pleased to invite Ariela to offer remarks
on behalf of the class of 2018. (Applause)>>Ariela Rivkin: Thank you, Dean Berquam, for that very kind introduction. I arrived here in Madison in August of 2014, after way too many hours in the back of
my parent’s minivan. I was surrounded by enough stuff to fill probably
five dorm rooms. It was clear from the start that I had seriously
over packed. But then I saw that guy across the hall try
and fit not one, but two, La-Z-Boy couches into his room. Sound familiar? I think a lot of us lived that same experience
on move-in day. But then I had one of those moments — maybe
you had one too — where something seemingly small happens but you just know that nothing
will be quite the same after that. I had just finished moving into my brand-new,
but somehow already dusty dorm room in Witte 3b, when a girl from down the hall came over
to introduce herself. “Hi my name is Ariela,” I said. She asked me where my name was from. A little taken aback, because where I come
from it isn’t a particularly unusual name at all. It’s Jewish, I said. Her eyes widened. “Cool. I’ve never met a Jewish person before.” I realized then that
I had left my comfort zone, far behind. I am the child of a religious refugee from
the former Soviet Union. My grandparents brought my dad over here when
he was just 13. Without a word of English, and with only a
few rubles to their name, they were determined to find a place where I could grow up celebrating
my identity. On my mom’s side, my grandfather was also
determined to give me and my siblings access to a democratic society, and so he served
in the US Coast Guard. Like many of you, my grandparents sacrificed
a lot. And they did so, so that I could grow up,
as I did, in a thriving Jewish community. That’s why being the first Jewish person that
some people here would meet, has been both the most challenging, and the most rewarding
experience of my time here on campus. It has been both a privilege, and a responsibility,
to wear my values on my sleeve and to represent my roots. Perhaps you’ve felt this exact feeling too,
as you had the chance to introduce a fellow Badger to your unique identity. What I didn’t realize four years ago, was
that I was going to have my own series of “first encounters.” Some were more superficial: Like, my First
encounter with that famous Wisconsin cheese curd. I still remember that shock, when I heard
that first initial squeak. (Laughter)
But I’m proud to say that cheese curds are now a staple in my diet, and I envy those
of you who grew up eating them. But other first encounters were much deeper:
I met a dear friend. She’s a member of the Ho Chunk Nation from
right here in Wisconsin, and she was the first Native American that I had ever met. Though we are very different, she showed me
that she, too, came from a small but mighty community, that taught her to wear her identity
with pride. Take a moment to think about all the first
encounters you’ve had here over the years with people who are passionate about things
that you hadn’t even considered. Being on this campus, I’ve met Badgers from
the Molecular Archeology club, the official Dog Petters clubs, Badgers from three different
ballroom dancing clubs, Badgers who were simultaneously studying for their Master’s and TA-ing classes,
and, yes, of course, Badgers from the famous Wisconsin Cheese Club. I could go on forever. All of us have met students from different
religious backgrounds, with different cultural practices, and with different political ideologies. Though we may have argued with each other,
sometimes even more than a little, we would not be who we are today without those first
encounters. Many of us Badgers cannot think of a more
tumultuous or polarized time in this country’s history, or in this world’s history. Then, of course, I talk to my dad on the phone,
and he’s like, “Ariela, have you ever heard of the American civil war?” And as unstable as the world might seem right
now, I can’t help but think of all the people here today and of all the people who couldn’t
be here with us today, who have served in the armed forces and might be able to think
of a tumultuous time, or two in this world’s history. But in today’s world, where nothing
is more validating than a Facebook “like,” and when it is increasingly
easy to stick with what we know, we cannot be afraid to be uncomfortable. If being a Badger is about the endless process
of sifting and winnowing, then encountering different people with different ideas must
be a part of that process. And who knows, you might just be the first
Badger that somebody meets one day, and you will show them that being a Badger means having
an unquenchable thirst for discourse despite differences, and a commitment to finding new
experiences outside of our comfort zones. Back in high school, I learned an old Jewish
proverb that has stayed with me ever since. It goes like this: “We do not see the world
as it is, rather, we see the world as we are.” And so, as we matriculate as Badgers, may
we remember to surround ourselves with people who see the world differently than we do because
of who they are. Only this way will we have a more complete
picture of the world, and maybe, just maybe, we can begin to understand our place in it.>>Dean Berquam: Graduates, in a couple of
moments, you’ll move your tassel and become part of an illustrious group called UW alumni. Please turn your attention to the video screens
where your Wisconsin Alumni Association will share a glimpse of the Badger community that
awaits you.>>The University of Wisconsin has been a
place of learning and discovery, a place where you’ve made friends and memories that will
last a lifetime. For some of you today is bittersweet. You will be saying farewell to Madison and
a community of people who’ve become an important part of your life. The good news is, you’re joining a world-wide
Badger community that stretches from Minneapolis to Malaysia, from L.A. to Austria, from Sweden
to the Swiss Alps. Wherever you go, the Wisconsin Alumni Association
will be there to connect you to this family. And, remember, no matter how far you travel
or how long you’ve been away, Madison will always be your home. We hope you come back and visit often. Because as a member of the Badger family,
you will always have a seat at our table.>>When you say, Wisconsin, you’ve said
it all! (Applause)>>Chancellor: At this point in the program, I’m pleased
to acknowledge those bachelor’s degree candidates who have distinguished themselves scholastically
by ranking in the top 20% of their school or college or by participating in the honors
program. These students are attired with honors stoles
solid cardinal red, or with red chevrons. I would like those students to stand, and
join me in recognizing their achievements. (Applause) Please be seated. Now for the conferral of bachelor’s degrees. I call upon Kathryn VandenBosch, dean of the
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. (Applause)>>Dean Vandenbosch: Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean VandenBosch.>>Dean Vandenbosch:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences,
I present these candidates for the following degrees:
Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Science-Agricultural Business
Management Bachelor of Science-Biological Systems Engineering
Bachelor of Science-Dietetics And Bachelor of Science-Landscape Architecture
Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Barry Gerhart, interim dean of the School of Business.>>Dean Gerhart:
Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the School of Business will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Gerhart.>>Dean Gerhart:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the School of Business, I present these candidates
for the degree Bachelor of Business Administration. Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Diana Hess, dean of the School of Education.>>Dean Hess:
Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the School of Education will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Hess.>>Dean Hess:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the School of Education, I present these candidates
for the following degrees: Bachelor of Fine Arts
Bachelor of Science-Art Bachelor of Science-Art Education
Bachelor of Science-Athletic Training Bachelor of Science-Dance
Bachelor of Science-Education Bachelor of Science-Kinesiology
Bachelor of Science-Physical Education Bachelor of Science-Rehabilitation Psychology
And Bachelor of Science-Theatre and Drama Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Ian Robertson, dean of the College of Engineering. (Applause)>>Dean Robertson: Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the College of Engineering will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Robertson.>>Dean Robertson:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the College of Engineering, I present these candidates
for the following degrees: Bachelor of Naval Science
Bachelor of Science-Biomedical Engineering Bachelor of Science-Chemical Engineering
Bachelor of Science-Civil Engineering Bachelor of Science-Computer Engineering
Bachelor of Science-Electrical Engineering Bachelor of Science-Engineering Mechanics
Bachelor of Science-Engineering Physics Bachelor of Science-Geological Engineering
Bachelor of Science-Industrial Engineering Bachelor of Science-Materials Science and
Engineering Bachelor of Science-Mechanical Engineering
And Bachelor of Science-Nuclear Engineering Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Soyeon Shim, dean of the School of Human Ecology.>>Dean Shim:
Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the School of Human Ecology will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Shim.>>Dean Shim:
On the recommendation of the school of — the Human Ecology faculty, I present these candidates
for the following degrees: Bachelor of Science-Community and Nonprofit
Leadership Bachelor of Science-Human Development and
Family Studies Bachelor of Science-Human Ecology
Bachelor of Science-Interior Architecture Bachelor of Science-Personal Finance
Bachelor of Science-Retailing and Consumer Behavior
Bachelor of Science-Textiles & Fashion Design Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Karl Scholz, dean of the College of Letters and Science. (Applause)>>Dean Scholz: Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the College of Letters and Science will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Scholz.>>Dean Scholz:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the College of Letters and Science, I present
these candidates for the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts
Bachelor of Arts-Journalism Bachelor of Music
Bachelor of Science Bachelor of Science-Applied Mathematics, Engineering
and Physics Bachelor of Science-Journalism
Bachelor of Social Work Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Linda Scott,
dean of the School of Nursing. (Applause)>>Dean Scott: Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the School of Nursing will please rise. (Applause) Chancellor Blank.
>>Chancellor: Dean Scott.>>Dean Scott:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the School of Nursing, I present these candidates
for the degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: I now call upon Steven Swanson, dean of the School of Pharmacy.>>Dean Swanson:
Candidates for bachelor’s degrees in the School of Pharmacy will please rise. (Applause)
There they are. All right. Chancellor Blank.>>Chancellor:
Dean Swanson.>>Dean Swanson:
On the recommendation of the faculty of the School of Pharmacy, I present these candidates
for the degree Bachelor of Science-Pharmacology and Toxicology. Candidates may be seated. (Applause)>>Chancellor: At this time, I ask all bachelor’s degree
candidates to please stand for the conferral of degrees. (Applause) On the recommendation of the faculty and under the authority granted by the University of
Wisconsin System Board of Regents, you will each be admitted to the degree appropriate
to the courses you have completed. Congratulations! (Applause) Class of 2018, you have arrived at an important milestone. The moment when you transition from being
a student to being an alumni. Tradition dictates that before degree conferral,
candidates will wear their tassel on the right side of the mortarboard. After commencement, to symbolize your new
status as graduates, your tassel is worn on the left. So, graduates, please move your tassels! (Cheering and Applause) Congratulations, again, to every one of you.
Please be seated. In a moment our celebration will end with
the singing of “Varsity.” And after “Varsity,” please remain standing
until the stage party and the faculty have reached the south end zone. Congratulations again to all of our graduates. A special thank you to the family and the
friends whose support and encouragement made this day possible. Good luck. On, Wisconsin, and congratulations, one last
time, to everyone. (Applause) To conclude our celebration, please stand and join Professor Leckrone and the University’s
School of Music band in singing “Varsity.” Varsity! Varsity! U rah rah! Wisconsin, Praise to thee we sing! We sing! Praise to thee, our alma mater, U rah rah! Wisconsin! (Cheering and Applause) (Band playing recessional music)

3 thoughts on “UW–Madison 2018 Spring Commencement Saturday May 12, 2018

  1. audio visual students shouldn't get a diploma. the music was way too loud and drown out the ladies great voice. amateur mistake.

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