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When Trudy Horvat walked across the stage to receive her diploma Dec. 13, 2008, family members watched from England, Israel and New Zealand.

Horvat’s family members were not able to attend the commencement ceremony at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, but they were able to watch her graduate via live, streaming video online.

“It was a great feeling going on stage knowing that they could see me at home,” Horvat said.

Since 2007, UW Oshkosh has provided family and friends of graduates with an alternative way to be a part of this important moment.

“Live feed began in response to an accessibility issue,” Special Events Coordinator Laura Rommelfanger said.

Before this service began, if someone were unable to attend commencement, they had the option of ordering a video after the event. There was no way to watch it live.

Online viewing is offered as a high-quality Flash video that provides a streaming feed of the event that does not require a download.

“We were on the front wave of this technology. Other schools are just getting into it and we’ve already been offering it for a few years,” Rommelfanger said.

To date, only three other four-year University of Wisconsin System schools — UW-Eau Claire, UW-Madison and UW-River Falls — offer this service.

Last year, more than 200 people watched UW Oshkosh’s online live commencement ceremonies, locally and internationally. Viewing continues to increase each semester as more people become aware of this service.

This May, Lt. Col. John Schultz ’74, will watch commencement from Afghanistan, where he is stationed with the U.S. Army, to watch the graduation of his son, Jason Disbrow.

“Live, streaming video of commencement is truly a marvel of technology and an outstanding opportunity for parents, spouses and soldiers like me who have to be away,” Schultz said.

Live webcasts of the May 17 commencement ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. from the University’s commencement site, http://live.uwosh.edu/commencement. There also will be a link at UW Oshkosh Today (www.uwosh.edu/news).

Families with small children who will be in the area can watch a live video broadcast in Room 161 of Kolf Sports Center, 785 High Ave.

For those who miss the ceremony, free video of the event will be available the week following commencement through iTunesU, www.uwosh.edu/itunes.

DVDs can be purchased of the upcoming and past commencement events for $25.

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