Just over 1,800 students received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison during a commencement ceremony at the Kohl Center on Dec. 19, 2021.
The ceremony for doctoral, bachelor’s, master’s and professional graduate marked a sweet return to an in-person celebration at the Kohl Center following a one year pause and a virtual winter commencement in December of 2020 due to COVID-19.
About 1,240 of them took part in the ceremony at the Kohl Center. Total attendance, including graduates, was 5,954. The ceremony was livestreamed so that friends and family from around the world could join in.
“I believe everyone’s journey at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been a rollercoaster of emotions, and today, all those emotions and tears are justified,” student speaker Jai Khanna told his fellow graduates from the stage.
Keynote speaker Manu Raju, CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, described how he decided, as a UW-Madison freshman, to take a chance and try something new as a sports reporter for The Badger Herald. It was a risk worth taking, he said, just like the bold decision his parents made to immigrate to the U.S. from India.
Yet Raju, who earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing from UW-Madison in 2002, cautioned that risks won’t always lead to rewards, at least not ones that are always readily apparent. He said his own career has been filled with its fair share of disappointments.
“As someone who has been humbled by having my hopes dashed repeatedly, I know it takes a great deal of courage to view our mishaps as bellows that can nourish, rather than extinguish, the embers of our ambition,” he told graduates. “But that courage to continue is precisely what characterizes the University of Wisconsin and its alums. For as we know, fortitude isn’t always necessarily found in the throes of a fight, but in one’s ability to withstand the wake of defeat.”
Wrapping up some unfinished business, the university recognized two people who were conferred honorary degrees virtually at last year’s winter commencement. V. Craig Jordan, a groundbreaking cancer researcher, accepted the honor in person Sunday. Michael G. Moore, a pioneer in the field of contemporary distance education, watched the ceremony via livestream.
Chancellor Blank told graduates that a college degree is the best investment they will ever make, and that to have finished their degrees while living through a life-threatening pandemic that disrupted every aspect of life was no small thing.
For more information about UW-Madison, visit http://www.wisc.edu. View the ceremony at https://www.wisc.edu/commencement/ and read about it at https://news.wisc.edu/look-at-us-now-graduates-reclaim-kohl-center-traditions-for-2021-winter-commencement/.
Here are the degree recipients from your area:
Lakewood – Graham Berger, College of Letters and Science, Bachelor of Science, Computer Sciences.