Commencement for Spring 2021

The following was released by the Executive Director of University Marketing and Communications Jeff Angileri.


More than 1,500 set to graduate at UW-Whitewater spring commencement

The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater will celebrate this week as a total of 1,552 undergraduate and graduate students will be earning degrees at commencement.

This year’s ceremony will be held in a hybrid format, allowing graduates an opportunity to cross the stage in cap and gown and receive their degrees in person, and providing the speeches, music and other traditional elements in a virtual format.

On Friday, May 14, students will be recorded crossing the stage at either Young Auditorium or Kachel Fieldhouse in cap and gown as their names are read. Then, on Saturday, May 15, the entire recorded ceremony — including students crossing the stage — will be shared online on the commencement website at 1 p.m., allowing graduates to watch it with their friends and family members. The video will also be available for viewing at a later time.

This year’s commencement speaker is Sarahí Monterrey, an English learner/Bilingual teacher at Waukesha South High School who earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees from UW-Whitewater, in 2002 and 2003, respectively. In 2018-19 she was named Wisconsin’s High School Teacher of the Year and selected as Wisconsin’s 2019 representative to the National Teacher of the Year Program, the first Latina in the state to earn this honor. In 2020, the UW-Whitewater Office of Alumni Relations selected Monterrey as the university’s Distinguished Alumna for Professional Achievement in recognition of her extensive career developing bilingual curricula and advocating for dual-language programs.

The student speaker is UWW-TV’s own Annmarie Lavorata, a communication major from Crystal Lake, Illinois, whose passion for her major led to numerous hands-on opportunities at UW-Whitewater. Despite struggling with speech challenges and dyslexia, Lavorata excelled at broadcasting, among 12 Warhawks who took home honors at the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association 2020 Student Awards for Excellence. And when ESPN came to Perkins Stadium for the 2019 NCAA Division III semi-final championship football game, Lavorata and her UWW-TV peers worked alongside industry professionals for the live broadcast.

The ceremony will recognize 169 undergraduates from the College of Arts and Communication, 513 from the College of Business and Economics, 178 from the College of Education and Professional Studies, 94 from the College of Integrated Studies, 392 from the College of Letters and Sciences, and 200 from the School of Graduate Studies. An additional 6 students are receiving an undergraduate degree not specific to any college. 

The graduating class of 2021 includes 12 international students, 99 military veterans or service members, and 122 nontraditional students, defined as adult students 25 years of age or older. In addition, 150 graduating students used the services of the university’s Center for Students with Disabilities. 

An estimated 225 graduating students are participating in the university’s Warhawks Rising campaign, which celebrates milestones submitted by graduating students, including job offers, graduate school acceptances and shoutouts to faculty or staff members whose support was critical to their academic success. 

The commencement video production is coordinated by UWW-TV, the university television station.  

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