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UWPlattevilles record fall Commencement
The most fall graduates in UWP history
UWPlatteville held its largest fall Commencement in school history at Williams Fieldhouse Saturday. - photo by Andy McNeill

PLATTEVILLE — A historic group of graduates walked across the stage at the UW–Platteville commencement on Dec. 15.

With a graduating class of 602, this array of students was the largest fall commencement class in the university’s history.

“The education you received from UW–Platteville serves as the foundation that you can build on to accomplish great things,” Chancellor Dennis J. Shields told the graduates. “Your education has given you the broad knowledge and technical skills to be highly successful and innovative in your field.”

The day included two graduation ceremonies. The first ceremony featured graduates in the College of Business, Industry, Life Science and Agriculture, and the School of Graduate Studies. The second ceremony included graduates in the College of Liberal Arts and Education and College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science.

Rochelle Ripp from Lodi was the principal speaker for the BILSA and Graduate Studies ceremony.

“The Pioneer spirit is what Wisconsin agriculture is built upon,” said Ripp. “It’s the progress that keeps us moving forward.”

A 2009 UW–Platteville graduate, Ripp currently serves as Wisconsin’s 65th Alice in Dairyland, an honor she was selected for on campus in May.

Ripp explained that farming is much like life. “The connections you’ve developed at UW–Platteville are solid roots for you to grow and become something great,” she said. “You have the tools you need. Now it is time to grow into something beautiful. With a little faith, hope and cultivation, your hopes and dreams will become what you’ve envisioned and worked toward. You will reap what you sow.”

Brent M. Wetter, from Boscobel, who earned a bachelor’s in communications technology, was the senior speaker at the morning ceremony.

“The time we have spent here at UW–Platteville has prepared us to face challenges head on,” he said. “Once we walk away from this university there is no freshmen orientation of the real world. There’s always something more to be done.

“No matter what is thrown in front of us, no matter what challenges face us tomorrow, we learn from our mistakes. We build on our success and we never stop learning.”

Professor Emeritus Donna Perkins was the commencement marshal for the morning ceremony. Bryan Michael Mergen and Dean E. Meinholz were recognized as Outstanding Alumni Award winners.

There were 235 students from the College of BILSA who received degrees, as well as 154 students from the College of LAE and 121 students from the College of EMS. Graduate Studies conferred master’s degrees to 92 students.

Ian McGregor, from Wauwatosa, earned a bachelor’s in environmental engineering and was the senior speaker for the afternoon ceremony.

“We’ve made it,” he told his fellow students. “Who we are is defined by what we do. Make sure you find something that you love and share that with others.”

“Your alma mater has great faith in you,” said Shields. “Have no doubt that you can make a powerful impact in the world.”

Brian J. Rauch served as principal speaker for the College of LAE and College of EMS ceremony.
Joe Lomax served as commencement marshal at the afternoon ceremony.

Dr. Michael Penn was honored as a recipient of the Alliant Energy Underkofler Excellence in Teaching Award.

Michael W. Payne and William K. Shores were recognized as Outstanding Alumni Award winners.

The ceremonies can be viewed online at