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One is a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh professor of and Ph.D. in philosophy. The other: Holder of a doctorate and top-of-the-line certifications in accounting.

Their disciplines may be different, but the empowering messages they will share with the UW Oshkosh spring 2012 Commencement class of graduates are of the same spirit.

UW Oshkosh Professor and Department of Philosophy Chair and new director of the University Honors Program Laurence Carlin joins Professor of Accounting Joann Noe Cross as the two featured faculty speakers to address a nearly 1,500-student graduating class and a guest list of thousands of family members, friends and supporters, at the Saturday, May 12 morning and afternoon UW Oshkosh spring Commencement ceremonies.

“I plan to speak about one’s ultimate responsibility: Making one’s head a happy place to live after graduation,” said Carlin, speaker at the 9 a.m. ceremony at Kolf Sports Center. “While we all have to get a job and make money, I believe our ultimate responsibility is the pursuit of a happy head, and this requires much more than getting a job and making money. I will encourage our graduates never to lose focus of this ultimate goal.”

Cross, too, will urge graduates to use their UW Oshkosh education and experiences to build the foundation of a career that supplies far more than a paycheck. Her address will be featured at the University’s 2 p.m. Commencement ceremony in Kolf.

“Every morning I wake up excited about going to work,” she said. “I hope my students will be able to do the same. College graduates have careers – jobs that are fulfilling and absorbing – and not just jobs which pay the bills. At least that is my hope for them.”

The two faculty members will follow a long-standing Commencement tradition of UW Oshkosh’s.

While many colleges, universities and higher education institutions welcome national celebrities, headline figures or household names to address their graduating classes, the state’s third-largest institution has long reserved the opportunity and the spotlight to its outgoing students and outstanding faculty members.

Both Carlin and Cross have developed outstanding resumes and reputations as teachers at UW Oshkosh.

Carlin has led groups of UW Oshkosh students to Cambridge, England for deep study dives into British philosophy. He has a specialty in 17th and 18th century philosophy, has published several articles and authored the book, “The Empiricists: A Guide for the Perplexed,” which, as a recent UW Oshkosh profile of Carlin’s work describes, “discusses the philosophical underpinnings of modern science in a highly accessible way.” He takes on the directorship of the University Honors Program in June.


Cross is a UW Oshkosh accounting professor of 31 years who has developed courses in Advanced Accounting, Fraud Examination and International financial Reporting Standards. She has also long been a member of the Academy of Accounting Historians and serves as their 2012-2013 President. Next year, she will address the Third International Conference on Luca Pacioli in Accounting History in Istanbul, Turkey and will host the Academy’s Annual International conference on the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh campus in October 2013.

Both Carlin and Cross take the opportunity to address graduates and their loved ones May 12 very seriously.

“Every one of my students takes with them a piece, a very tiny piece, of me,” Cross said. “Although I will never be famous or prominent or able to change the world, one of my students or one of their mentees will. Ripples within ripples spread my influence beyond the borders of this campus in ways I will never know.”

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