New Undergraduate Recognition and Celebration
perfect way to wrap up time with Department of Kinesiology
In an effort to commemorate the accomplishment of earning a degree and to better acknowledge its many talented students, the Department of Kinesiology this past spring held its inaugural Undergraduate Recognition and Celebration event.
The festivities took place on Saturday, May 16, in a large tent adjacent to the UW Natatorium immediately following the university’s commencement ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium. The Department of Kinesiology’s celebration included brief talks from several faculty members and a short recognition ceremony in which students received a gift and a letter from Professor and Department Chair Dorothy Farrar-Edwards.
“This is a very competitive program and we have exceptional students, and we really wanted to recognize them for all of their hard work and all that they have accomplished,” says Farrar-Edwards. “All of the Department of Kinesiology programs are very difficult to get into. We feel like these students are working extremely hard and doing wonderful things — but we don’t always take the time to acknowledge their achievements. This event was a way to do that.”
For years, UW–Madison had held four different commencement ceremonies each spring at the Kohl Center. But beginning in the Spring 2013, the university started hosting one large ceremony at Camp Randall Stadium — with roughly 6,000 graduates together in a single venue and another 40,000 or so friends and family sitting in the stands, taking in the event.
“Having commencement at Camp Randall was certainly neat and there was a real ‘wow’ factor that gave you great pride to be graduating from such a great place,” says Tanner Neubauer, who earned his undergraduate degree in exercise movement science this past spring from the Department of Kinesiology. “But then to be able to come over to the Natatorium — and celebrate this accomplishment with our Kinesiology community that has been such a big part of my life these last few years — was truly special. It was also nice to be able to show my family where I spent so much time and who the different people were who had been teaching me. It was great.”
Adds Farrar-Edwards: “I think some of the parents were even happier than the students, because it gave them the opportunity to meet the faculty and our academic staff. It also allowed them to learn a bit more about all of the great things that their students have been doing and what they learned. It was really a lovely event.”
The celebration also allowed the department to recognize and highlight the many opportunities its graduates will have moving forward.
“Our students are going into high-demand fields and are very, very successful,” says Farrar-Edwards. “We have a high rate of acceptance into occupational therapy, physical therapy and physician assistant programs. Many go on to medical school and graduate programs in exercise and movement science. There are lots and lots of opportunities for our students moving forward. They are going on to great things and we wanted to celebrate that with them.”
In all, 54 graduates — plus an additional 400 family and friends — took part in the Department of Kinesiology’s event, which included sandwiches, refreshments, ice cream and cake.
Due to its success, Farrar-Edwards says the department plans to run the Undergraduate Recognition and Celebration event each year.
“I think that’s a great idea,” says Neubauer. “It was a wonderful way to wrap up my time with the Department of Kinesiology.”