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1,242 freshly minted graduates celebrate at UW-Whitewater

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Kevin Hoffman
May 15, 2011
— The black caps and gowns were the only common themes among UW-Whitewater’s 1,242 graduates Saturday.

Their moods and demeanor varied greatly as they stood outside Kachel Fieldhouse, awaiting their official induction into the real world from a life of Ramen noodles and late-night study sessions. Some joked and high-fived their fellow classmates. Others stared blankly, nervously awaiting what waited ahead.


At last, after hours of waiting, students began filing into the fieldhouse, met by a quiet applause from thousands of parents and siblings who came to cheer on their college graduate.


“This is it,” one audience member shouted.


Late on arrival


Outside the gymnasium, dozens of parents nervously crowded the doorways wondering whether they would even get to see their children walk across the stage.


Those who arrived just 20 minutes early were barred from entering the fieldhouse until all graduates were seated and the National Anthem was over. Students walked past the doorway, prompting many family members to snap pictures with their cell phones.


“There she is!” one parent yelled. “Oh, no, that’s not her. Same hair though.”


Other visitors, unsure of the situation, frantically called friends already inside, saying they might not make it in time.


A short time later, the barricade was removed. Crisis averted.


Some groups shuffled into the fieldhouse, while others made their way down to a small room where video of the ceremony was played for those without tickets.


As the first of nearly 1,300 names was being read, some people slept, waiting for their young graduate’s moment in the spotlight.


Be proud, be humble


“The only reason we are graduating today is because someone, somewhere knew what you were capable of and pushed you to succeed,” commencement speaker Casey McCall said.


“Whenever I find myself becoming arrogant and prideful, I have to hold on to one humbling truth: I didn’t get here on my own.”


McCall, an education major, joined 1975 UW-Whitewater graduate David Kistenbroker as the commencement speakers.


Kistenbroker, named one of the most successful and influential securities litigators in the nation, reminded graduates they can compete with graduates from Harvard and Princeton.


Kistenbroker said when he graduated he applied for an internship in Washington D.C. During the interview, he was asked how he expects to compete with graduates from those other distinguished universities.


He didn’t get the internship.


“That’s kind of a speed bump that you encounter in life,” he said.


“And now, at this point when I stand here as a graduate of this university, I can tell you that the kids from great schools just like this one, and Harvard, Yale … they send me their resumes, to see if they can get a job.”



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