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UW Winter Commencement Scheduled Dec. 15

November 28, 2018
people in a large auditorium
The University of Wyoming’s combined winter commencement ceremony is scheduled Saturday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. (UW Photo)

The University of Wyoming will accord degrees to 512 students during a combined winter commencement ceremony Saturday, Dec. 15, at 10 a.m. in the Arena-Auditorium.

Speakers for this year’s commencement are graduating marketing senior Adriana Ramirez, of Evanston, and Doug Stark, retired president and CEO of Farm Credit Services of America, who will give the commencement address.

Stark is the former president and chief executive officer of Farm Credit Services of America, a financial cooperative providing agricultural credit, risk management and financial services to farm and ranch operators in Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas and Wyoming. Farm Credit Services of America is one of the largest production agricultural lenders in the United States. 

As a UW graduate, Stark began his career as an assistant loan officer with Farm Credit in Wyoming in 1980. He relocated to Omaha, Neb., serving as the association's chief credit officer. In 2005, he was appointed president and CEO, a role which he served until last year. 

In 2013, Stark received the Ag Outstanding Alumni Award from the UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He has maintained his connections with UW co-teaching a leadership class in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and as a facilitator for collaboration on outreach projects with UW. He also serves on the UW Foundation Board of Directors. 

Strong advocates for personal and professional development, Stark and his wife, Deniz, created a leadership scholarship in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Both earned their bachelor’s degrees in agricultural business from UW.

Ramirez, with a concentration in sustainability and global markets, was chosen by a student speaker selection committee following a nomination process. Criteria included a student’s record of academic excellence; ability to write and speak effectively to a large audience; demonstrated leadership in student organizations, student activities, public service or other activities; and representation of the best qualities of UW graduates.

“I am honored to represent first-generation students at the commencement,” Ramirez says. “My time at UW has been one of growth, challenges and hard work. I've learned the importance of my education and gained a wealth of knowledge.”

Adriana Ramirez and Doug Stark

During her time at UW, Ramirez has served as inaugural president of the Wyoming Collegiate DECA. She presented at the DECA national meeting in Washington, D.C., last year.

“UW has introduced me to students from all around the world who have impacted me in more ways than one,” Ramirez adds. “I have valued the opportunity I have been given to further my higher education, and I am excited to share my journey at this year's ceremony.”

Ramirez also has studied abroad at the University of Strasbourg and attended Western Wyoming Community College in Rock Springs before transferring to UW.

“She is one of the hardest working students that I have known in my 25 years in the college classroom,” says Greg Livingston, an assistant lecturer in the College of Business. “She is the type of student we all wish to have in class. She is the first to offer help to the student who might be struggling or lost, and she always has a smile on her face. She is incredibly passionate about higher education.”

Before this year’s winter ceremony, individual commencement video messages will be screened in the Arena-Auditorium.

“Messages are brand new to UW,” says Sean Blackburn, UW vice president for student affairs. “We are asking students to be part of this new tradition. The individual student messages should be only 5-10 seconds in length.”

Graduating students interested in recording personal messages should visit the Wyoming Union in Room 124A Tuesday, Dec. 4, through Thursday, Dec. 6, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. to record them.

Also featured this year for the winter commencement are honorary marshals. Marshals are nominated and named in recognition of their distinguished service to UW. One honorary marshal carries in the university mace and leads the processional. The other marshal carries the mace out during the recessional, signaling the end of the ceremony.

The UW Jazz Ensemble and the Happy Jacks will provide the entertainment during the ceremony. Pistol Pete will be available to take photos with graduates and, weather permitting, Cowboy Joe also will be available for photos.

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