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It was a morning of firsts.

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s 55th Midyear Commencement honored the academic achievements of students from all three campuses—Fond du Lac, Fox Cities and Oshkosh—in one ceremony for the first time Saturday, Dec. 14. In addition, the first class of Titan student-athletes donned special stoles to recognize their commitment to academic and athletics.

Learn more about some of the nearly 900 undergraduates, more than 140 master’s degree candidates and three Doctor of Education candidates that received diplomas at the ceremony:

Student speaker sheds light on mental health battle

As the student commencement speaker, Leo Costello, of Oshkosh, shared his story of pride in graduating after battling clinical depression for 10 years. He hopes his message offers inspiration to others who might not be able to picture a way out of depression. He graduates with a major in multimedia journalism and a minor in theatre and plans a career in entertainment journalism.

Friends reminisce ahead of big day

Kalia Yang and Pa Nou Vang, both of Appleton and graduates of the College of Business, spent a few moments reflecting on the end of their time at UWO with fellow graduate, Lia Kou Her, a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, who graduated from the College of Education and Human Services. “I never thought this day would come,” Her said.

Sisters share journey from Fond du Lac campus

Sisters Phoebe Leu (left) and Zoe Leu (right), of Fond du Lac, both started their college journey at the UW Oshkosh, Fond du Lac. They walked together in the processional to receive their associate degree during Midyear Commencement.

Zoe, is a communications major and dance minor, has decided to take some time to plan her next step. Her long range goal is to teach people how to communicate verbally and non-verbally. Phoebe is continuing her education at UW Oshkosh with the goal of earning a degree in physical therapy.

Doctoral graduates ready to serve as leaders within school districts

Doctoral graduates Sarah Poquette, Kelley Strike and Wendi Dawson ‘03, have touched the lives of children throughout their careers first as teachers and now as leaders within their districts.

Poquette studied the impact of informed trauma care practices and strategies implemented at elementary schools. She found that connection of community resources is imperative when dealing with students impacted by trauma. Strike examined how K-12 school districts could attract and retain teachers. Dawson researched how the open enrollment of young children impacts retention.

Nursing grad proud to wear student-athlete stole, honors medallion

Wearing a stethoscope, student-athlete stole and honor medallion reminded nursing grad Lindsay Denu, of Madison, of just how much she was able to accomplish at UW Oshkosh. The first of her dreams came true last spring when the two-sport athlete ended her Titan athletics career at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track and Field championship. She realized her second dream to find a job in her preferred specialty when she recently accepted a position in the hematology/oncology unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

Fox Cities grad thankful for friend who encouraged her to attend

A friend encouraged Jensen Kampo, of Winneconne, to start college courses at the UW Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus.

“Allycia Gullikson encouraged me to go to college. I wouldn’t be here without her.”

The smaller size of the Fox Cities campus made it an easy transition for Kampo. Now with her associate degree in hand, she will be taking some time to decide on the next step in her educational journey.

Sunny days ahead for College of Business graduate

A College of Business graduate will soon be leaving behind the snow and cold of Wisconsin. Jacob Putzer, of Oshkosh, who graduated with double majors in marketing and economics, heads to sunny Orlando, Florida, the day after Christmas to take a job with an international travel firm. “I’m the youngest so my family is sad I’ll be leaving the nest.” Putzer will join his fiancée, Caitlyn Schafer, in Florida. She graduated from UWO last year with a degree in economics.

International student excelled with small classes at Fox Cities

Khloe (Yee Tung) Ding, an international student from Malaysia at the UW Oshkosh, Fox Cities campus was excited to receive her associate degree during the three-campus commencement ceremony.

She will be transferring to UW Madison to pursue a degree in finance investment and banking with the goal of being a financial analyst.

The people she met at the Fox Cities campus made it unique. “I really liked the small classes and the close relationships with professors.”

'Angel' watches over human resources grad

Angela Tischendorf, of Medford and a graduate of the human resources program in the College of Business, decorated her cap with the phrase, “Let’s get down to business!” Tischendorf had family and friends on hand as she collected her diploma, but had an “angel” — her mom who passed away in January, watching over her at commencement.

Tischendorf, whose boyfriend Stewart Atkinson is graduating with a degree in radio TV film, was hired before graduation at Clarity Care, an organization that provides services to seniors and adults with disabilities.

Secondary education graduate dons artwork of his students

Adam Hawley, of Oshkosh, completed his student teaching at Oshkosh North High School. Today his mortar board dons the artwork of three of his students. He graduates with a degree in secondary education in social sciences. He says that it is “important to teach the younger generation history so that we can learn from our mistakes and make the future a bright one”.

First-generation COEHS grad hopes to connect with her students through culture

Sandra Quinones, of Manitowoc, was the first child in her family born in the United States and is a first-generation college student. Her parents, originally from Mexico, taught her English as they learned it when first immigrating to the U.S. She completed her degree in elementary education through the UW Oshkosh cooperative program with UW Sheboygan. She looks forward to connecting with her students on not only on a personal level but a cultural one.

Two-time track and field national qualifier ready to step into the classroom

Bailey Quinn graduates with a degree in secondary education and is looking forward to teaching biology and chemistry. During his time at UWO, Quinn participated in track and field in the 35-pound weight throw and is recognized as a 2-time national qualifier in the hammer event.

Psychology graduates celebrate double milestones

Two graduates of the psychology program were talking about their recent engagements as they waited. Silas Humberg, of Oshkosh, got engaged on Thanksgiving and fellow student and friend Jessica Kramer, of Milwaukee, got engaged in October. “I got accepted into the Master of Social Work Program at UWO for the fall of 2020. I’ll be doing that and planning a wedding,” said Kramer who is employed with Fox Valley Autism Treatment Program, working with children and adolescents.

Both graduates were planning a day of celebration with family and friends. Humberg’s sister was on hand from Las Vegas and was excited to see so many people he hadn’t seen in so long. Humberg said he may be returning to UWO for graduate school. “The professors are amazing,” he said.

Fond du Lac campus offers jump start to education

Megan Harrison, of Ripon, said the Fond du Lac campus of UW Oshkosh was a great place to start her college journey. “The classes were small which provided more access.”

After receiving her associate degree, Harrison will be taking a semester off to work and then plans to continue her studies at UW Oshkosh in fall 2020 to earn a degree in special education.

Connections key for communication studies grad

Communication Studies graduate Amanda Courtemanche, of Fond du Lac, said she’ll miss the connections with professors, fellow students and her Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority sisters. “Dr. C (Jennifer Considine) is definitely the mom of communication. She cares about her students so much.”

She has been hired by H&R Block as an associate team leader and has a long-term plan of working in event planning.