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Last update: 6/3/08

[University of Wisconsin-Green Bay News Release]

For Immediate Release:

May 17, 2008

UW-Green Bay celebrates 25,000th graduate at spring commencement

GREEN BAY - Saturday was a special day for more than 700 University of Wisconsin-Green Bay seniors, and especially for Jennifer Schanen.

Not only did the senior from Port Washington receive her bachelor's degree with Summa Cum Laude honors, she also became the University's 25,000th graduate.

Saturday's commencement ceremony at the Kress Events Center paused briefly as Nancy Deprey gave Schanen No. 230 in line a gift package from the Alumni Association. Deprey was UW-Green Bay's first-ever graduate when she received her diploma on June 1, 1970. Deprey, then Nancy Ably, was first in line alphabetically in a class of 78 graduates.

Fast-forward 38 years when 731 UW-Green Bay graduates will enter the working world as members of the Class of 2008. More than 575 seniors participated in the spring ceremony, coming from 21 states, 18 countries and three Native American tribal nations.

"Every commencement is special. But from a university and community perspective, today's commencement is a milestone..." Chancellor Bruce Shepard said, noting the 25,000-plus degrees that have been awarded. "That's 25,000 success stories of graduates serving our communities, our state, and the world."

Schanen, the lucky 25,000th, earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree with minors in Spanish and theatre (with an emphasis in dance).

She had previously received a Chancellor's Medallion for her achievements through her collegiate career. Schanen will soon join AmeriCorps and leave for training in California.

Shepard noted that UW-Green Bay graduates have gone on to become special people doing special things. They have shaped our communities, cities, countries and culture in many ways from 97-year-old Maria Hinton (class of '79), a tribal elder who is helping preserve Oneida stories, language and culture; to Ma Manee Moua (class of '99), a former Wisconsin assistant attorney general; to Dr. Tina Sauerhammer (also class of '99), a resident surgeon at UW Hospital in Madison, former Miss Wisconsin and UW-Green Bay's youngest-ever graduate at age 18.

Commencement speaker David Kriebel, a professor and co-director of the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production at the University of Massachusetts Lowell and UW-Green Bay class of '77 alumnus, reminded graduates that their actions of today will help shape the world of tomorrow.

"No matter what your career path, act as if you live on a small and very finite planet think of her as you walk through life, choosing in 10,000 small ways the mark you will make and the legacy you will leave your children and their children," he said.

Nerad, Seidl honored with Chancellor's Awards
Outgoing Green Bay Area Public School District Superintendent Dan Nerad and Len Seidl, the founder of Len Seidl Realty who helped secure the spot where UW-Green Bay stands today, were honored with Chancellor's Awards.

Nerad worked closely with UW-Green Bay during his years with the district.

"Dan (Nerad) has helped build and nurture numerous partnerships that have greatly benefited our community and made brighter futures possible for thousands of students," Chancellor Shepard said. "In particular, his early and ardent support of the Phuture Phoenix program at UW-Green Bay is opening the doors of higher education for students whose moms and dads did not have that opportunity."

Seidl is a valued friend and supporter of UW-Green Bay who found the best site for the University more than 40 years ago, Shepard said.

"Today, your UW-Green Bay is widely regarded as one of the most scenic and attractive campuses in the state and nation. And we have leaders like Len Seidl to thank," Shepard said. "Len's support of UW-Green Bay did not end there. He has been a generous and loyal supporter of the University's Founders Association and also our Weidner Center for the Performing Arts."

College of Menominee Nation president awarded honorary Doctor of Laws Degree
Verna Fowler, a Menominee Indian leader and nationally recognized advocate for the educational advancement of American Indians, became the sixth person to receive an honorary degree from the UW-Green Bay. Her Doctor of Laws Degree recognizes Fowler's distinguished services to learning, the state and the common good of society.

Fowler was the founding president of the College of Menominee Nation in 1993. Since then, it has grown to more than 500 students, includes more than a dozen areas of study, maintains an annual budget of $10 million and has transfer agreements in place with UW-Green Bay and other four-year universities.

Take a seat at the Kress Events Center
There wasn't a bad seat in the house for those watching the spring commencement ceremony from inside the Kress Events Center.

Seating was plentiful and the $33 million Kress Event Center lived up to its billing as a state-of-the-art, multi-purpose facility.

"The Kress Events Center is an enduring example of what all of us-students, alumni, community friends and elected officials-can accomplish when we all work together toward a common goal," Shepard said.

Some onlookers were close to the action with "grad-side" seats and jumbo video boards helped everyone see the stage as the Class of 2008 was called.

UW-Green Bay Graduation milestones
100th on Dec. 20, 1970 1,000th on May 27, 1973 5,000th on Aug. 31, 1979 10,000th on June 1, 1989 20,000th on Dec. 21, 2002 25,000th on May 17, 2008.

Graduate list is online
A list of graduates by degree and home county is online at

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08-139 | Contact: Mike Heine, (920) 465-2526

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