MADISON — The University of Wisconsin System is contributing toward the state’s economic growth this academic year by graduating more than 29,000 highly skilled professionals poised to enter Wisconsin’s workforce.

Following this spring’s commencement ceremonies, the UW System will have granted degrees to approximately 29,500 graduates during the 2003-04 academic year. Those graduates include almost 3,600 new teachers, 1,600 engineers, 1,600 biomedical professionals, 580 nurses, 140 doctors, 100 pharmacists, and many others who have the skills necessary for employment in a knowledge economy.

“These well-educated graduates are central to efforts to grow the state’s economy,” said UW System President Katharine C. Lyall. “The UW System is a perfect partner as Wisconsin works to develop a high-end economy by investing in its citizens and attracting new businesses.”

As state government prepares to host a conference this week at which interested partners will strategize on Wisconsin’s economic and workforce development plans, Lyall reminded officials that UW graduates bring essential critical-thinking and professional skills to the state’s workforce.

“Education does open the way to careers and better earnings, but it also enlarges us as human beings,” Lyall said. “The state’s future will largely depend on the decisions UW graduates make.”

Lyall said most UW graduates stay in Wisconsin to work or attend graduate school, raise families and become productive, taxpaying citizens. Recent UW System survey data indicate that more than 80 percent of Wisconsin residents who earn UW degrees remain in the state after graduation, as do nearly 20 percent of non-residential students.

As in previous years, three-quarters of this year’s UW graduates are entering the workforce having earned their bachelor’s degrees, while the rest offer expertise gained while completing master’s, Ph.D. or professional degrees, such as in law or medicine. The majority of UW graduates received their degrees this month; others graduated last December or will graduate later this summer.

Since the UW System was created in 1971, the 13 four-year campuses and 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges have awarded nearly 740,000 degrees.

Related: 2004 Spring Commencement activities

Media Contact

Doug Bradley UW System 608-265-0548