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The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh is, once again, making history in celebrating its 138th spring Commencement.

Not only are a record number — nearly 1,500 students — in line to become graduates of UW Oshkosh Saturday, May 12 at Kolf Sports Center, but four will become the first-ever to earn and receive doctoral degrees from the UW System’s third-largest university.

Morgan Bailey, of Oshkosh; Amber Carriveau, of Green Bay; Anna Christian, of Appleton; and Vicki Ray, of Appleton, will be the first to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. All are employees stationed throughout the New North — in Oshkosh, Appleton and Green Bay — working in the nursing field. And all believe their new degrees will enhance their knowledge base and abilities.

“Our DNP graduates are prepared to identify the gaps in practice, analyze the effects on population health and translate evidence into practice,” said Kimberly Udlis, PhD, FNP-BC, assistant director, advanced practice nursing, and herself a practicing nurse practitioner. “It is these types of healthcare professionals who will truly change our future and better our outcomes.”

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard H. Wells said the DNP program and its graduates are building upon the institution’s more-than 140-year reputation of excellence and innovation.

“We were home to the nation’s first working, teacher-training kindergarten on a college campus,” Wells said. “We have become a regional epicenter for sustainability and renewable biogas energy advancements. Now, we are answering the healthcare industry’s call for more and better-prepared nurses into the next decade. This year’s first wave of highly skilled, civically connected and globally engaged Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree-holders is part of another record class of nearly 1,500 UW Oshkosh graduates, and it is further evidence of our responsiveness to our region’s, state’s and nation’s economic and leadership demands.”

See and hear the inaugural class of DNP graduates share their reflections on earning the UW Oshkosh’s first-ever doctoral degrees in this video:

Since 1974, the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing has been a leader in nurse practitioner education. So, when in October 2004 the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) recommended moving the preparation necessary for advanced nursing practice from the master’s level to the doctorate level, the College of Nursing’s graduate program faculty and staff immediately set to work.

Earlier this year, the college’s DNP program achieved a significant milestone when the AACN awarded the DNP program a five-year accreditation, the best outcome possible for a new program.

The DNP graduates’ achievement is just one of several highlights and stories of success involved in spring Commencement. Thousands of family members, friends and supporters of another record graduating class will be on hand at Kolf Sports Center Saturday for UW Oshkosh’s 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies.

Honorary doctorate recipient a global sustainability leader, UW Oshkosh partner

Renewable energy pioneer Dr. Martin Viessmann, who leads The Viessmann Group of Allendorf, Germany, will receive the institution’s honorary doctorate during the morning UW Oshkosh Commencement ceremony.

Viessmann’s successful nomination for the UW Oshkosh honor cites his tremendous track record of innovation and collaboration inside and outside his industry. The family-owned, nearly $2.5 billion Viessmann Group’s dedication to renewable energy initiatives and training within the industry have helped dramatically advance Germany’s goal of carbon neutrality. The company and its leader have worked just as diligently with educational partners such as UW Oshkosh, sharing expertise and state-of-the-art technology to develop environmentally sound biogas energy facilities on campus and in the Oshkosh area.

Commencement more interactive than ever

Guests at UW Oshkosh spring Commencement, and audiences around the globe, will be able to experience the ceremonies through a live webcast, the University’s free mobile app and social media.

In addition to a live streaming webcast covering the morning and afternoon ceremonies, attendees, online audiences, alumni and UW Oshkosh friends and followers alike are invited to help build the Commencement Day buzz and share well wishes and applause via the University’s Facebook page and Twitter accounts.

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