Words of Wisdom
The University of Wisconsin System awarded more than 32,000 degrees
during commencement ceremonies this academic year. Per tradition,
Wisconsin Ideas offers a collection of the advice, wisdom and
celebration offered by some of those who delivered this spring’s
"In Wisconsin, we value education above all else. ...
It is extremely incumbent on you graduates today to live with that
education, to live with those values and to make sure that you
pass them on to the
people who will come after you. ... We need you to lead us into
the future with your hard work and service. ... Your dreams today
are Wisconsin's dreams. Your successes are Wisconsin's successes."
— Gov. Jim Doyle,
"You, UW-Marinette grads, understand the full value of Wisconsin's
investment in you. Now take every opportunity to educate the public and
its servants in the priorities of a democracy. Start by insisting that this
state renew its commitment to an educational system that builds strength
— Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton,
“The line of fire racing across time that we call life is
burning brightly in all of you at this moment. We celebrate the
joy of your achievement, but we must give thanks for all that brought
us here. And we must be keenly aware that our stupendous good fortune
carries with it an obligation to keep that flame burning brightly
into the future for every living thing that is and is yet to be.”
— Bradley Whitford, actor, UW-Madison
Ellen Kort, Poet Laureate of Wisconsin, addresses graduates of UW-Fox
Valley, as Dean Jim Perry looks on.
"Whatever your lifestyle, whatever your job preference, whatever
your family, develop objectives that mesh with a dream. Complete
success may not always be possible, but a strong aim and direction
will carry you far."
— Edward Weidner, founding Chancellor,
"All of you graduates leave here today with a degree and a dream. We all know what happens to the degree. It gets a nice frame and, with luck, is dusted once in a while. But what happens to the dream? Well, that, my friends, is up to you."
— U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, UW-Rock County
“You have to be able to adapt to change, think
critically, communicate effectively and be lifelong learners...
general education does
that. We want to help you prepare for life, to increase its meaning
and enjoyment, and we hope you are all lifelong learners."
— Margaret Cleek, provost and vice chancellor
for academic affairs, UW Colleges
“Look at you! Look at you! All this about education! This
is wonderful. We’re not here for a basketball game. It’s
not about a hockey game. This is about education. This is marvelous
stuff. My heart is warm. My spirit is revived. I take hope."
— Al Jarreau, Grammy-winning vocalist,
"But who else could be more idealistic than each one of you, who have looked incredible odds in the face and succeeded? You are to be commended for what you have done. But now we look to you for what you will do."
— Dr. J. Herman Blake, Iowa State University professor, UW-Parkside
"The unique aspect of college that cannot be found in any other area of life is that we have had the freedom to make mistakes and find the courage, support and resources to fix them. These mistakes, as well as triumphs, have taught us how to be mature, informed and contributing members of society. We are not only graduating today with a degree, but with a road map for life."
— Maria Francesca McGinnis, student, UW-River Falls
"One of the hardest lessons I have learned growing
up is that the bad habits that I pick up stick around for a long
time, and they are never easy to change. The good news is that our positive habits
work the same way. The positive things that we do today are going
to stay a part of us for a long time. ... And slowly, little
by little, this world will be changed."
— Jenni Schreiner, student speaker,