Campus News

Thousands attend 2017 Spring Commencement to celebrate new graduates

Just under 6,300 bachelor's, master's and law students participated in commencement exercises Saturday at Camp Randall.

Image By: Courtesy of UW-Madison/Bryce Richter

A crowd of roughly 42,000 friends and family of graduates enjoyed the clear and sunny sky for the 2017 Spring Commencement at Camp Randall Saturday.

This year’s graduating class was one of the largest in UW-Madison’s history, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said in her speech to the graduates. Approximately 6,300 students received their bachelor's and master's degrees in a stadium celebrating its 100th birthday this year.

Steven Levitan—a UW-Madison alum and Emmy award-winning producer and writer for Modern Family—delivered the keynote address of the ceremony. Levitan encouraged the graduates to take chances and do what they love, no matter how many times they fail. He told the audience about his 9 failed show pitches prior to his creation of Modern Family.

“We took everything we learned from our few successes and many failures and wrote what we knew best,” Levitan said. “Now, gratefully, I’m introduced as the co-creator of Emmy-winning ‘Modern Family’ and no one remembers I’m the idiot who failed nine times in a row.”

Chancellor Blank highlighted the accomplishments of this year’s senior class in her speech. Blank said she hopes the graduates will use what they learned to help them succeed in a world currently full of “enormous challenges,” which she defined as serving a cause bigger than one’s self.

“Wherever your path leads next, I hope that you will define your success by the difference you make in the world,” Blank said. “I hope you will find work that you love, and have the opportunity to work with people you can learn from, and who in turn can learn from you.”

Blank concluded her speech by emphasizing the strength of the UW-Madison community, expressing her desire to see the graduates visit Madison in the future.

“I can’t wait to hear what each of you does next. But wherever you go, be sure to come back and visit us every so often here in Madison,” Blank said. “You will always be part of UW and I hope that UW will always be part of you.”

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