Student Voice


May 20, 2024


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Students to speak at commencement

May 3, 2007

UW-River Falls students Dana Laufenberg and Nicole Peters have been selected to speak during the graduation ceremonies May 12.

Laufenberg will speak at the 9:30 a.m. ceremony for the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences (CAFES), the College of Business and Economics (CBE) and the College of Graduate Studies. Peters will speak at the 2 p.m. ceremony for the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) and the College of Education and Professional Studies (COEPS).

“I wanted to speak at graduation because I have been extremely fortunate to have had so many opportunities at UWRF,” Peters said. “I saw this as one way to express my appreciation for them.”

Laufenberg said it will be a good opportunity to display her public speaking skills she has developed at UWRF.

“I originally auditioned for commencement speaking as a challenge to myself,” Laufenberg said. “But I realized that if I were chosen, it would be a huge honor and a great way to display the skills that I have learned while I have been here.”

Peters’ speech is titled “Lessons From the Textbook of Life.”

“It is about some of the lessons I have been lucky to experience during my time at UWRF,” Peters said. “[One thing] I have learned is the importance in investing in those around you and taking time to make a genuine connection whether it is friends, co-workers, professors or others you experience daily.”

Laufenberg’s speech is titled “Journeying Through Life.”

“I will be focusing on the journey that we have taken through our lives starting in childhood and continuing through our careers,” Laufenberg said.

“Our journey through life did not start when we came to UWRF nor will it end when we walk through the doors.”

Both Laufenberg and Peters had to have an initial draft of their speeches prepared when they auditioned to speak at the end of March.

Miriam Huffman, co-director of the First Year Experience Program, said when the candidates audition each year, they are to present their speech the way they would the day of commencement.

A speaker for each ceremony is then selected by the External Relations Committee of Faculty Senate and recommended to the chancellor.

Since they received notice of the committee’s and the chancellor’s decision, both students have been able to refine and polish their speeches.

“Each of the speakers, following their selections, works with faculty in our Speech Communication and Theatre Arts Department to assist in crafting their final speech,” Huffman said.

Laufenberg is an animal science major with an emphasis in equine management and will be one of the many graduating seniors in the CAFES ceremony.

Peters will be graduating with seniors in the CAS ceremony and is a speech communication major with an emphasis in professional and organizational communication.

Both Laufenberg and Peters said they hope they can send important and encouraging messages out to graduating seniors.

“I would like to see my fellow graduates taking home the message that we are never going to stop learning, even if we choose not to continue to further [our] education,” Laufenberg said. “No matter what we are faced with, challenges and changes will force us to continue learning, especially in the rapid field of technology.”

After graduation, she will return to UWRF for graduate studies in agricultural education.

Peters will be moving to Ohio to get her master’s degree in college student personnel at Bowling Green State University.