UW-Stout News Story

Alumnus offers graduates advice for a successful future

May 14, 2012

Dwight Davis certainly has been a success since leaving the University of Wisconsin-Stout campus in 1966. He’s had a career as a college administrator, insurance company president and CEO of a manufacturing company.

Davis returned to campus Saturday with his wife, Linda, also a UW-Stout graduate, to give the current graduating class some words of advice:

“We expect many of you are looking to the future with uncertainty,” Davis said in his commencement remarks during two ceremonies at Johnson Fieldhouse. “While the lingering effects of the Great Recession contribute to this uncertainty, the reality is that the future is always more uncertain than certain.

“Our advice is to focus on what you can control, namely your effort, your attitude and your dedication to making a difference in all you do. This approach to work and to life will distinguish you among your peers and open doors to experiences and successes you cannot envision today.”

Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen presented Dwight and Linda Davis with honorary doctorates of humane letters for their dedication “to improving the communities where they have lived and the companies with which they have been associated.”

Sorensen added: “You have given generously of your time, advice and financial resources to advance the mission of UW-Stout, which will have a lasting effect for decades to come. For years you have provided multiple annual scholarships to UW-Stout students and a few years ago established an endowed chair to support ‘transformational leadership.’ ”

Furthermore, he said, “Your efforts extend to many other areas; you have supported the arts, parks and recreation, animal welfare, historic preservation, senior citizen programs and youth development in Wausau, Chippewa Falls and Door County.”

While they were students at UW-Stout, Linda Davis was editor of the Stoutonia student newspaper and Dwight Davis was president of the Stout Student Association. Dwight Davis graduated in 1966 with a Bachelor of Science degree in technology education, while Linda Davis graduated in 1967 with a Bachelor of Science degree in home economics education and an English minor.

Dwight Davis went on to earn a master’s degree from Michigan State University and a doctorate from the University of Illinois. His first career, in community-technical college administration, spanned nearly 20 years. He held executive positions at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Ill., and as president of North Central Technical College, Wausau. He then joined Wausau Insurance Companies, where he held a number of senior executive positions, including serving as the company's president. In 2001 Davis became CEO of Greenheck Corp., a global manufacturer of air movement and control equipment, headquartered in Schofield. He currently serves as chairman of the board and, along with his wife, Linda, is co-owner of the company with the Robert C. Greenheck family.

“Giving back to this university that gave so much to us has become a source of great satisfaction for many years,” Dwight Davis said in his remarks. “We have been able to provide scholarships to many UW-Stout students. We have been able to employ many UW-Stout graduates and take pleasure watching their careers advance.

“And, in recent years, we have enjoyed the opportunity to work with Chancellor Sorensen and other university leaders on various projects to aid in UW-Stout’s transformation to a polytechnic university.”

A total of 1,275 students received degrees in the two ceremonies, including 216 graduate degrees.

Sorensen conferred the degrees on the graduates. Provost Julie Furst-Bowe presided over the ceremonies. It was Furst-Bowe’s last graduation ceremony at UW-Stout; she will become chancellor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville July 1.

Mark Parsons, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing, welcomed the new graduates to the Stout Alumni Association. Music was provided by the university band, directed by Aaron Durst. Choral selections were performed by the Stout Symphonic Singers, directed by Patrick Liebergen.

Receptions followed in the Multipurpose Room in the lower level of the Sports and Fitness Center.

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