UW-Stout News Story

Graduates challenged by chancellor to take risks in their careers

December 15, 2012

University of Wisconsin-Stout Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen challenged nearly 800 new graduates Saturday to use their degrees to pursue their dreams, even if it means risking failure along the way.

“Set very focused goals, set the bar high and be willing to accept challenges, including failure,” Sorensen told 779 graduates during two ceremonies at Johnson Fieldhouse. “Then dedicate yourself to achieving what you set out to do.”

Sorensen continued: “Use your education as a starting point, a point for further growth, including advanced degrees. Never underestimate your potential, never underestimate yourself. Success and achievement are seldom simply luck.

Chancellor Sorensen“During my career, I have been incredibly impressed with the students and the graduates of UW-Stout who took the risk and succeeded,” Sorensen said. “Let potential failure motivate you to reject the usual and strive for the unusual, strive for success beyond what you expect.”

Sorensen singled out three students as taking risks either to go to UW-Stout or during their education career:

•   Lin Fang, a student from China, who risked leaving her home country and family to come to a new country to study business, with an emphasis in mathematics and marketing and sales. She achieved a 3.8 grade point average, Sorensen said, “and she is now preparing to graduate and enter life as a professional.”

•   Nicole Trinh, a school psychologist whose family came from Vietnam, decided to return to UW-Stout for a second advanced degree. “She took every chance, set high goals and would not settle for the ordinary,” Sorensen said.

•   Linnea Heintz, a married mother of three who lives in Hawkins in Rusk County, received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. She had a two-hour drive one-way to campus, accumulating 1,000 miles a week of commuting. That didn’t stop her from obtaining her degree in just 2½ years. After breaking her neck in a fall and undergoing rehabilitation, Heintz decided to enroll at UW-Stout at age 42. Her experience went so well she has decided to enter graduate school and pursue a doctorate. She wants to research the connection between stress and its effects on the immune system.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Heintz said Saturday. “My children and family have sacrificed so much for me.” Her three children, ages 19, 17, and 15, and husband were at the ceremony.

She said she will miss the family and friends she made at UW-Stout, but added, “The life I’ve created here for the last 2½ years is done, but they’re friends I’ll have for life.”

Commencement was split into two ceremonies, with graduates from the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences; College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; and Graduate School taking part in the morning ceremony. The afternoon ceremony was for graduates from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Management; and Graduate School. Officials handed out diplomas to 779 students, including 143 graduate degrees.

Sorensen conferred the degrees and deans of the colleges presented the diplomas. UW-Stout interim Provost Mary Hopkins-Best presided over the ceremonies. Mark Parsons, vice chancellor for University Advancement and Marketing, welcomed the graduates into the Stout Alumni Association.

Music was provided by the university band, directed by Aaron M. Durst. Choral selections were performed by the Stout Symphonic Singers, directed by Daniel Clark.

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