Graduation is the one day every college student looks forward to. After years of hard work, stress and all nighters, you finally get to walk across that stage and receive your degree.
This spring, the student that has been selected to send the graduating class of 2019 away is Tom Kind. With four years of dedication to UW-W, he is ready to speak to his peers and showcase his love for Whitewater.
“I suppose it hasn’t really hit me yet,” said Kind. “I haven’t told many people, mainly because there is so much going on. But it truly is a wonderful honor.”
Kind is best known for being Whitewater Student Government President for two years, a role in which he has served students and worked alongside administrators with policy reform and hiring processes. He is also a founding member of Phi Delta Theta, as well as the Interfraternity Council Vice President.
“I have served in many ways on this campus, and this is a capstone,” Kind said. “An opportunity for me to say thank you, and an opportunity for me to call on my class to remember how we all got here. I truly believe that is because of the people who leave impacts on every part of our life.”
Interviewing for the commencement speaker position was not unfamiliar territory for Kind.
“I’ve served on the committee to pick the speaker many times in the past few years,” he said. “It’s certainly been an honor and a lot of fun. UW-W Empower is an excellent organization of extremely dedicated Whitewater students. They are the ones who help the stories of many students be heard.”
While Kind does want to focus on his story, he also is ensuring that his speech is comparable to other students.
“It certainly is my goal to be relatable,” he said. “It seems everyone has advice on what to say, but I know this is only a small moment in a huge event for many students, and also their families.”
Being commencement speaker is a large title, but Kind is ready to take the stage, while still recognizing his audience. He wants to make sure that his peers leave with the remembrance and recognition that comes with graduation.
“I don’t want to steal the show,” he said. “I want to leave an impact, I want to share a challenge with my peers. I want us to leave campus knowing that the relationships we’ve built, the experiences we’ve had, it’s helping us to build greater communities.”
All in all, Kind is ready to walk across the stage. After nothing but four years of love for this campus and this community, he’s ready to receive his long-awaited degree.
“For all of this and more, I’m excited for graduation day.”