UW-Stout News Story

Gray skies don’t dampen graduates’ spirits

December 15, 2012

Gray skies and wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of 779 graduates Saturday, Dec. 15, at University of Wisconsin-Stout.

Outside, a cold December rain was somewhat frightful, but inside the mood was delightful as smiles, hugs and family photos filled Johnson Fieldhouse and a reception area before, during and after the morning and afternoon ceremonies.

Shrugging off the weather, Chancellor Charles W. Sorensen said, “Every day is a great day when you’re graduating.”

Two happy graduatesAs they celebrated, several students talked about the challenges they faced en route to their degrees, what they’ll miss about UW-Stout and about their career aspirations.

Joshua Sales, from Park Falls, had his diploma in hand as met family at a reception after the ceremony. “It’s a very, very happy day for me. I’m more proud of myself than anything,” Sales said after four years of studying.

A human development and family studies major, Sales’ goal is to work with children, hopefully as a school counselor.

He followed in the footsteps of his aunt, Christie Sales, a 1970 UW-Stout graduate and a mentor. “My high school guidance counselor went to Stout, and she loved it. When I took a tour of campus I loved it. I had a very good relationship with all of my professors, and I’ll miss my classmates,” Sales said.

Terisa Glenz, of Cadott, was one year away from graduating when she suffered serious injuries in a motorcycle accident and gave birth to her son. She needed facial reconstruction and foot surgery. After a two-year layoff, she returned to UW-Stout and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology. “That was a challenge,” she said, smiling at her own understatement.

She hopes to work in the human services field, in child welfare.

What will she miss most about UW-Stout? “The learning. I love learning,” she said.

Rhondi Love, of Milwaukee, majored in vocational rehabilitation. She is considering two career options, either working in the mental health field or entering the Los Angeles police academy. She has a job interview Monday for Option 1 and has passed the entrance exam for Option 2.

Love, who was joined by seven family members including two from Atlanta, said the biggest challenges she faced en route to her degree were learning self-discipline and time management. “You’ve got to use your time wisely,” she said, holding a bouquet of flowers.

Alex Breeden
, of Fort Collins, Colo., was joined by his parents, who flew in Friday to Minneapolis and drove to Menomonie for the ceremony. Asked why he came 1,000 miles to attend UW-Stout, he said. “I had some friends here, and UW-Stout had the degree I wanted,” he said.

Breeden, who majored in plastics engineering, said he had to learn time management to be successful but that his biggest challenge, simply, was “the classes.”

He has a couple of job options but said he’s planning to return to Fort Collins and is in no rush to make a decision. “I’ll miss the friendships I made but, the (Wisconsin) weather — I’ll move on,” he said with a laugh.

Hilary Olson, of Whitehall, earned a degree in psychology. As a first-generation college student, she said it took a while for her to simply learn the ropes in terms of how to study and what to get involved in on campus.

Once she adjusted, she enjoyed her college experience, she said. “I’ll really miss some of my teachers. I liked to go to class. The campus atmosphere was nice, and I’ll miss the friendships,” Olson said.

Olson, her parents and other family members planned to celebrate with a dinner at Red Lobster in Eau Claire.

Nicole Sommer
, of Eau Claire, majored in human development and family studies. She likely summed up the feelings of many graduates by saying, “I’m very happy and excited and ready to be done and move on.”

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