Chancellor tells graduates polytechnic designation adds value

By University Communications
May 6, 2017
Chancellor tells graduates polytechnic designation adds value

Photo: Grads show off their diplomas during a ceremony Saturday.

University of Wisconsin-Stout and its students have benefited greatly from the designation it received 10 years ago as Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, Chancellor Bob Meyer told 1,375 graduates in three commencement ceremonies Saturday.

Meyer, delivering his sixth commencement address in Johnson Fieldhouse, recounted the steps UW-Stout went through to receive the historic designation in March 2007 from the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents, as well as the tremendous changes the university has seen in the last decade.

Chancellor Bob Meyer congratulates a graduate in the morning ceremony.“I firmly believe that the (polytechnic) designation has added value to the diploma you will receive today,” Meyer said. “Employers know that when a UW-Stout graduate enters their workplace, they have been exposed to the most current curriculum, have used the latest technology and, most likely, have had a workplace experience that will allow them to get started immediately in their new career. They also know that you have had a well-rounded education that included the ability to participate in myriad groups and activities on campus.”

Meyer told the graduates that 97.4 percent of the 2015-16 graduates were employed within six months of receiving their diplomas, an employment rate that has been increasing in the last few years.

“This employment rate is extraordinary, and the trendline is nothing short of amazing,” he said. “The outside world knows that UW-Stout is helping to grow Wisconsin’s economy. In fact, every time either the governor or the lieutenant governor speak about UW-Stout they mention our 97.4 percent employment rate.”

The designation also has helped define UW-Stout to the outside world, including the employers who depend on the university for their workforce needs, Meyer said.

“We put in words why and how we are different from the other universities in Wisconsin,” Meyer said. “The designation helps us explain ourselves better to employers and the entire outside world.”

A graduate celebrates as she crosses the stage to pick up her diploma.UW-Stout has doubled the number of majors it offers in the years since the designation, Meyer said, telling the graduates: “Many of the majors that you will see on your diplomas didn’t even exist before we became a polytechnic university.”

These new majors cut across all colleges and disciplines, he said, including engineering, applied science, game design and development, applied social science, Master of Fine Arts in design, criminal justice and rehabilitation, golf enterprise management and supply chain management, among others.

Meyer concluded his remarks by asking the graduates to pursue their dreams, using a quotation from the Will Smith movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness.”

“You now have the education you need, from Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, to achieve whatever you want in life,” Meyer said. “You just have to believe in yourself, put aside all doubt and pursue your dreams.”

A total of 1,159 undergraduate students received bachelor’s degrees in three ceremonies, and 216 Graduate School students received master’s and doctoral degrees in an evening ceremony.

Deans of the colleges presented the diplomas. Patrick Guilfoile, provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, welcomed the graduates and 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’s Symphonic Band and Jazz Orchestra, directed by Aaron M. Durst. Choral selections were performed by the university’s Symphonic Singers and Chamber Choir, directed by Jerry Hui.

Links to archived previous commencement exercises are available here.



Top: Graduates show off their diplomas during the morning ceremony Saturday.

Middle: Chancellor Bob Meyer congratulates a graduate in the morning ceremony.

Bottom: A graduate celebrates as she crosses the stage to pick up her diploma.