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Graduating senior Vanessa Virbitsky, of Harrisburg, Pa., was selected class speaker for the 2008 University of Wisconsin Oshkosh commencement ceremony. She will give her speech at the ceremony at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 17, for the College of Letters and Science.

Nearly 1,300 undergraduates and graduates will be honored at morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies at Kolf Sports Center, 785 High Ave.

Virbitsky will graduate cum laude with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism and political science and an emphasis in public relations and advertising. She will speak about the vitality of choice and how UW Oshkosh students and alumni will forever be connected by their decision to attend UW Oshkosh.

“Choosing to attend UW Oshkosh from my parents’ home in Harrisburg was surprisingly easy,” Virbitsky said. “This campus and this community have felt like home since the very beginning of my college career here, and I don’t doubt that my fellow graduates, current students and alumni feel the same way.”

Throughout her college career, Virbitsky was a two-sport student-athlete in gymnastics and outdoor track and field where she earned an individual and three team titles at NCAA Division III national championships. Advancing herself professionally, she completed a two-summer internship for the Hershey Company’s Hershey’s Track and Field Games and also worked in the Integrated Marketing and Communication department at UW Oshkosh.

In her free time, Virbitsky volunteered on the Habitat for Humanity Oshkosh public relations and fundraising committee, participated in the nationally recognized Oshkosh Chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, and helped to coordinate clinics, camps and fundraisers for the UW Oshkosh gymnastics team. She also spread her passion for gymnastics by coaching young girls at the Heart of the Valley YMCA.

After graduation, Virbitsky will accept a graduate assistantship as assistant gymnastics coach at Ball State University and will pursue her master’s degree in public relations/sport communication.

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