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Graduation marks transition to a new beginning

December 11, 2008

Snow, the dreadful temperature and the motivation to study has continued to fall as the end of the semester is right around the corner. Yet some students will soon be rising to take the few well-earned steps across the stage from college life to the real world. Three hundred and three UW-River Falls students will be graduating at 2 p.m. Dec. 20 at the Robert P. Knowles Center.

After years of hard work and the end in close view, Marta Olson, a marketing communications graduating senior, commented on her upcoming experience.

“It is definitely a sense of accomplishment. I am ready to start the next chapter in my life. But school is all I’ve known for so long, it’ll be strange,” Olson said.

The expected two-hour ceremony will include two honorable awards and a few speakers to touch on the memorable moment.

“Chancellor Connie Foster will provide welcoming remarks,” said Blake Fry, special assistant to the chancellor and dean for student development and campus diversity.

Following Foster, Sang Hahn will be speaking as the 2008 Distinguished Alumnus. 

According to the UWRF alumni relations Web site, Hahn graduated from UWRF in 1975. After coming to this country with $8,000 in his pocket, and now making millions selling real estate, Hahn donated $100,000 to the campus in 2006.

Professor Travis Tubre will also speak as the 2008 Distinguished Teacher. Tubre joined the campus in 2001 as a psychology associate professor and was nominated for this award by students and alumni of UWRF.

The ceremony will continue to touch on the accomplishments of not only the students but the individuals that made the University a continued success.

“Mr. Michel Beyer and Bailey Nurseries, Inc. will receive Outstanding Service awards,” Fry said.

According to the Student Voice in Nov. 2006, “The Outstanding Service Award was established in 1983 to recognize individuals or organizations outside the University community who have made exemplary contributions to UWRF.”

To conclude the ceremony, each student will receive their few seconds of individual victory.

“I look forward to walking and having my name called, switching the tassel as well,” Olson said.

Beyond the excitement that will take place during the ceremony, students, family and friends will have the opportunity to experience the special day at the graduation brunch. 

The brunch will be held prior to the graduation ceremony from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the Riverview Ballroom at the University Center. Brunch reservations must be made by Dec. 15.

Immediately after the ceremony, graduates and their invited guests are welcomed to attend the reception held in the Knowles Center.

After the day is done and the moments are only memories, students and graduates can view the graduation ceremony on the UWRF Web site. The ceremony will be streaming live on the Internet for all viewers to see. The live stream is free of charge and only requires Windows Media Player to view the event.

For all graduating students, family and friends, the commencement ceremony marks both an exciting and emotional event. This moment marks the end of loads of homework, long study hours and a successful college experience.

“I don’t anticipate anything negative about the ceremony,” Scott Kelly, a business administration graduating senior, said. “It represents a sense of accomplishment and achievement.”