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Like so many other graduates in his Midyear Commencement class at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, Ryan Carter is well aware of the economic conditions he will launch his career in.

But, donning his graduation gown on Dec. 17, the Manhattan, Ill. native is far from daunted. His combination of supply chain operations management and German degrees from the state’s third-largest public institution has him prepared.

“I think I’m ready to go,” Carter said, flanked by proud parents. “I’m happy to be done and happy to move on.”

Carter was one of approximately 1,000 graduates to receive degrees on Saturday, Dec. 17 as part of UW Oshkosh’s 47th Midyear Commencement Ceremony.

More than 130 graduate students and nearly 860 undergraduate students had earned degrees. In 2011, UW Oshkosh has conferred approximately 2,400 degrees to students.

College of Nursing graduate Kristin Duffey, who earned nursing and Spanish degrees, plans to head to Washington after graduation. With cap, gown and stethoscope slung around her neck, the new alumna said she is prepared.

“Yeah, I feel ready, but it’s kind of scary at the same time,” Duffey said. “We don’t know what the future holds.”


As traditional, Kolf Sports Center was packed with thousands of parents, friends and supporters who cheered on graduates.

Marian Rothkegel’s family made the trip from Germany… and possibly with more luggage than their son did when he first arrived at UW Oshkosh.

Rothkegel served as the Midyear Commencement student speaker. A Chancellor’s Excellence Award winners, the native of Germany graduated with a major in supply chain and operations management and minors in global business and geography. Having military experience, including deployment to Kosovo while serving with the German Armed Forces, Rothkegel is going to work for NATO in Brussels, Belgium while planning to pursue a graduate degree in business.

He spoke about the steps he has taken toward fulfillment of his American dream and encouraged his classmates to pursue their own American dreams.

“As Chancellor Wells mentioned it in the introduction, I literally arrived with two suitcases, a scholarship, tremendous support from my family and friends and the will to live the American Dream, right here, at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh,” Rothkegel said in his address.

Keynote speaker, College of Nursing Professor, Graduate Program Director and Assistant Dean Sharon Chappy, channeled her message to graduates through her passion for Harley Davidson motorcycling.

“In the Harley world the saying goes: It’s not the destination, it’s the journey,” Chappy said. “But one can certainly argue that you have arrived at a very important destination today. For those earning Bachelor’s degrees, you are joining only 28 percent of Americans who have a Bachelor’s degree or higher; for those getting a Master’s degree, you are now among only about 7 percent of Americans. So be proud of what you have accomplished.”

State Sen. Jessica King, a UW Oshkosh alumna, and UW System Board of Regents representative Charles Pruitt also shared words of encouragement for the graduates and the audience at the Midyear Commencement ceremony.

Chancellor Richard Wells awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion to Kristy Bradish, a UW Oshkosh alumna and director of the Winnebago Conflict Resolution Center.

Bradish has been an innovator in her field, co-authoring two nationally-recognized manuals for mediation training and launching the successful Foreclosure Mediation Program serving Calumet, Manitowoc, Waushara and Winnebago Counties.

Jordan Greuel, a criminal justice graduate, hopes to pursue a career involving the rehabilitation of correctional inmates as they reenter society. He’s eager to enter the job market but knows a graduate degree may likely be in his future.  

“There’s more education that will be coming with that, so maybe I might be back,” Greuel said.

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