The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh made history Saturday, Dec. 16 as it awarded its first doctorates in educational leadership and policy with superintendent licensure (Ed. D.).
It was standing room only at Kolf Sports Center as family and friends joined the campus community in celebrating the 1,200 students who completed the requirements to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees from UW Oshkosh.
Saturday’s ceremony was steeped in tradition with striking new black and gold gonfalons, faculty dressed in regalia and students wearing their mortarboards and tassels. Watch how students decorated their mortarboards for graduation at the Almost Alumni Lunch late in November.
Graduating class speaker
Austin Karraker, of Wauwatosa, encouraged his fellow graduates to carry the title of “Titan” with them throughout their lives.
“On the first line on your resume you are allowed to proudly produce the name of this fine institution. You must never forget that as a Titan you will stand out among your peers as a colossus of your field. As we find ourselves looking to write the next chapter of our lives, I implore you to remember to be a Titan,” he said.
Associate Professor Jennifer Considine asked graduates to be effective communicators by listening to their own voices and in their relationships and communities.
“We spend a lot of time in our society talking about our right to free speech. And this talk is important, our right to free speech matters. But speech alone is not effective communication. To have truly effective communication, we need both speaking and listening… In our workplaces, we feel disconnected from our work and our coworkers. In our communities, we hear more about what divides us than brings us together. It seems we are forgetting how to listen to one another,” she said.
Executive Director of the Paine Arts Center and Gardens Aaron Sherer was awarded the Chancellor’s Medallion for his contributions to the University and the region. As executive director for the past 15 years, Sherer has pursued and supported efforts to strengthen the Paine’s relationship with faculty, staff and students at UWO.
Inaugural Doctor of Education graduates
Greg and Tammy Nyen, a married couple, were two of seven inaugural Ed.D. graduates. In a hooding ceremony Friday, Tammy Nyen was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year at UW Oshkosh.
Her parents, who were traveling from Florida, arrived at the ceremony just as she approached the podium. Tammy’s 21-year-old son saved the day by picking up his grandparents from the airport in Chicago after they missed a flight.
Tammy said she learned she and her husband have very different styles when it comes to completing coursework. She agonized over every word and sat down with long sessions of writing. He was faster, but required numerous edits.
Tammy is superintendent of the Marquette-Alger Regional Education Service Agency; Greg is district administrator for Waupaca Schools.
A day of celebration
Educators from the Ashwaubenon School District were taking a group selfie at Kolf as they celebrated the completion of a 3.5-year journey to obtain their master’s degrees.
Leigh Banks, Meegan Kaster, Amanda Paul, Amanda Treml and Kathy Twaroski all earned master’s degrees in literacy; Nicole Gleffe earned a master’s in educational leadership and policy.
“I might have quit without the support of everyone,” Banks said, referring to the women who work in different schools but have become good friends.
Paul said a memorable moment occurred when five of them stayed in a hotel room together when they attended a research symposium in Madison. The group plans to continue its tradition of Wednesday night dinners.
Aaron Cramer, of Oconomowoc, was adjusting a watch his mom, Wendy Sowinski, gave him as gift before he walked the stage. Cramer, who graduated with a degree in criminal justice and wrapped up a career playing football for UW Oshkosh, said he was excited to reach this milestone. He will be competing a corrections internship with Outagamie County.
About 20 people turned out to watch Cramer receive his degree, including his girlfriend Remi Larson, who traveled from La Crosse.
- Inaugural Doctor of Education cohort graduates at midyear commencement
- Paine Arts Center executive director to receive Chancellor’s Medallion
- Chancellor, Provost share stories of regalia
- UWO seniors continue nursing pin tradition