A rising generation of
Greetings from Green Bay’s University of Wisconsin!
What do the service-minded alumni featured in this issue have in common with the distinguished leaders pictured on this page? Quite a lot, actually, with regard to “promoting the common good.”
Let’s revisit December commencement, where our graduating seniors heard many references by several speakers to giving back to society. That’s standard commencement-address fare, of course, but as I listened
I couldn’t help but think this familiar message rings especially true at UW-Green Bay.
Perhaps it’s because so many of our students “connect learning to life” and address civic issues
through coursework and volunteer activities. Perhaps it was the conviction with which that day’s speakers — foremost among them alumna Jill Lajdziak ’79 (below, left), general manager of GM’s Saturn division — touted the value of passionate commitment to family, work and community.
Perhaps it was the way the ceremony spotlighted recipients of Chancellor’s Awards, our highest community honor. Carl and Mary Ellen Kuehne (below, right) and former dean of students Jerry Olson (center) were richly deserving of their standing ovations. The Kuehne name is known industrywide for building American Foods Group into one of the state’s largest employers, and Jerry helped shape today’s UW-Green Bay. Yet, as was made absolutely clear, we celebrate these individuals not so much for professional accomplishments as for their extraordinary contributions to building a better community for others.
We’re missing something important, I believe, when higher education is portrayed primarily as a private benefit with earnings and career options accruing to the individual. In truth, a university education can be a powerful force for the common good. Thank you to Jill, Jerry, Carl and Mary Ellen, and to all those profiled in this issue, for helping illustrate this important distinction.
Enjoy this issue of Inside. Thank you for all you do in helping us connect learning to life. And Go Phoenix!