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Wise words: Commencement season to begin

Students may be shaking spring-break sand from their flip-flops, but commencement celebrations are just weeks away for colleges and universities.

Many Wisconsin colleges and universities — public and private — plan commencement ceremonies in May and are lining up speakers.

NFL quarterback Russell Wilson will deliver the spring commencement address on May 14 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“It’s an honor to be asked to speak at any commencement ceremony, but I’m particularly excited to return to a place where I have so many great memories,” said the Super Bowl-winning Seahawk, who attended UW-Madison.

Also in Madison, former Attorney General Eric Holder will give the keynote at the University of Wisconsin Law School hooding ceremony on May 13. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to these graduates about the road ahead,” Holder said in a news release. “And I hope by sharing some of my own experiences, they see that it’s a big world just waiting for them to make a positive impact.”

On May 22, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., will address the graduating class at Carthage College in Kenosha, while alumna Judith Mayotte, a TV producer and humanitarian, will deliver the keynote the same day at Marquette University.

At Ripon College on May 15, the class of 2016 will hear from soccer coach Pia Sundhage, who led the U.S. women’s team to two Olympic gold medals.

Elsewhere, graduates of 2016 will hear from Vice President Joe Biden, who will deliver commencement addresses at the U.S. Military Academy, Delaware State University and Syracuse University’s College of Law.

First lady Michele Obama will address graduating seniors at Jackson State University in Mississippi, as well as City College of New York and the Santa Fe Indian School in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Other speakers scheduled for commencements this spring include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at Drew University, Oliver Stone at the University of Connecticut, Ryan Seacrest at the University of Georgia, Hoda Kotb at Tulane, Spike Lee at John Hopkins, Hank Azaria at Tufts, Steven Spielberg at Harvard, Matt Damon at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, James Franco at Cornell, Bill Moyers at Rutgers, Ken Burns at Stanford and Seth Meyers at Northwestern.

WiG ushers in the commencement season with a look at wise words delivered to previous graduating classes.

Some favorites:

• Prime Minister Winston Churchill’s address at Harrow School in 1941: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never — in nothing, great or small, large or petty — never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense.”

• President John F. Kennedy’s address at American University in 1963: “No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable.”

• Tennis legend Billie Jean King’s address at the University of Massachusetts in 2000: “The most important words that have helped me in life when things have gone right or when things have gone wrong are ‘accept responsibility.’”

• Apple founder Steve Jobs’ address at Stanford in 2005: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.”

• Actor and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger’s address at the University of Southern California in 2009: “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.”

• Country singer Dolly Parton’s commencement address at the University of Tennessee in 2009: “Now I usually try not to give advice. Information, yes, advice no. But what has worked for me may not work for you. Well, take for instance what has worked for me. Wigs. Tight clothes. Pushup bras.”

• President Barack Obama’s address at Arizona State University in 2009: “A relentless focus on the outward markers of success can lead to complacency. It can make you lazy.”

Commence career search

College graduates from the class of 2016 face sunnier prospects in the job market than those who graduated a year ago, according to a new report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

The report shows employers expect to hire 5.2 percent more new graduates than they hired in 2015.

Another report, released by an institute at Michigan State University, estimated national employers would hire 15 percent more graduates with bachelor’s degrees in 2016 than in 2015.

Additionally, about 80 percent of the employers that answered the MSU survey described the U.S. labor market for college graduates as “good” to “excellent.”

— L.N.

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