University of Wisconsin System Regent Gerald Whitburn of Wausau will address fall semester graduates and their guests as the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point holds its winter commencement ceremony on Saturday, Dec. 15.
Whitburn will speak to nearly 600 graduates in the Multi-Activity Center (indoor track), located in the Health Enhancement Center, in one 10 a.m. ceremony that will include associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree conferrals for all four colleges. This is the first time since 2005 that all of a semester’s graduates will be conferred together.
The commencement program will open with the presentation of flags by the UW-Stevens Point ROTC color guard. The national anthem will be sung by Jessica Kate Patterson, a senior vocal music major from Kohler, and Adam Qutaishat, a senior music education major from Plover, will sing the alma mater. Presiding over the ceremony are Chancellor Bernie Patterson, Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Greg Summers and Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Al Thompson. Patterson will give the welcome and charge to the graduates.
Representing the class of 2012, Alison Dwyer, an English education major from Menomonee Falls, will address her fellow graduates. Deans from their respective colleges will assist the chancellor in the presentation of diplomas.
Alumnus Mary Wescott of Stevens Point, a member of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, will present the inaugural pinning ceremony for new alumni. Music will be provided by the UW-Stevens Point Concert Band conducted by Brendan Caldwell, assistant professor of music. Music Professor David Hastings will introduce each candidate for graduation.
Whitburn has been a member of the UW System Board of Regents since 2011. He is chairman of the board at Church Mutual Insurance Company in Merrill, the nation’s leading insurer of houses of worship. He also served as its CEO from 2001 to 2010. He is also the past chairman of the Property Casualty Insurers of America and is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Institutes.
Whitburn has an extensive background in business and government, having served as labor secretary in Wisconsin and as the secretary of Health and Human Services in both Wisconsin and Massachusetts. Whitburn serves on the boards of the River Valley Bank, the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and the Florida-based Step for Students, the nation’s largest school choice program.
A native of Merrill, he received his bachelor’s degree in political science and history from UW-Oshkosh and master’s degree in political science from UW-Madison. Whitburn has also studied management at the Kennedy School, the Business School at Harvard and at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.