The start of winter 2021 opens its doors to family and friends for the first time since 2019 The Badger Herald

University of Wisconsin graduates gathered on December 19 in beanies and dresses to celebrate the first in-person debut with family and friends since 2019.

With 5,954 people filtering through the rows at the Kohl Center on Sunday, UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank said this winter’s ceremony marked the first beginning to include family and friends since December 2019.

This promotion has seen the COVID-19 pandemic, the return of the Statue of Liberty to Lake Mendota, the Black Lives Matter protests, Barry Alvarez’s farewell and the first food delivery robots on campus, said Blank.

In addition to graduate and undergraduate degrees, UW has awarded honorary degrees to V. Craig Jordan, known for his work on breast cancer prevention, and Michael Moore, a pioneer of learning. from a distance. Karen Walsh, vice-chair of the UW System Board of Regents, announced the recipients of the honorary degrees.

CNN’s chief congressional correspondent Manu Raju served as the keynote speaker, while Mechanical Engineering Major Jai Khanna served as the student keynote speaker.

Khanna, who served on the Dean of Students and COVID-19 Student Advisory Boards, was unable to return to her home country of India when the pandemic struck. As an international student, he traced an uncertain course thousands of miles from his family. His time at UW, however, has helped him form a bond for which he is grateful.

Khanna said the students should keep the connections they made at the university and concluded her speech with a short beatbox performance.

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As the chief congressional correspondent on Capitol Hill, Raju took a break from digging through the scoops and breaking news to deliver the keynote address. Even with big news emanating from the United States Capitol this morning about Joe Manchin’s vote against the Build Back Better Act, Raju said he was “not totally upset” that he missed the story at the end of the day. start.

Presented by Harrison Freuck, winter graduate and former editor of the Badger Herald, Raju’s speech focused on his experience as the proud son of two immigrants whose journey began 15,000 miles from Madison.

When her parents moved to Chicago, calling her family was too expensive. Instead, they would write letters, which could linger in transit for up to 30 days. Their courage and determination is what inspires Raju’s distinctive journey from student at Bascom Hill to CNN reporter on Capitol Hill.

“While my parents would have to wait four full weeks to see a single letter find its way to family in India, you won’t have to wait more than a generation for their son to find his way to this beautiful elite campus. . in Wisconsin and subsequently on cable TV in Washington, ”Raju said.

At UW, Raju worked as a sports reporter for The Badger Herald and was also involved with WSUM. He graduated from business school with a degree in marketing and embarked on journalism in what he calls an “unconventional” start.

In previous interviews, Raju has said that being the one who got the first scoop and broke it on live TV was what drove him to do exceptional journalism.

In an interview with some news agencies ahead of Sunday’s ceremony, Raju said he encountered difficulties entering the workforce, such as being denied jobs, which was disheartening and at times frustrating.

“It didn’t necessarily stop me from trying to pursue what I wanted to do, and I continued to work hard, to persevere, to persevere – and things finally worked,” said Raju.

He conveyed this sentiment to graduates in his opening post, urging the Winter 2021 class that there is no one path to success in the world. Raju said it’s important to take risks and not worry if things don’t work out immediately – in the long term, they can.

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Raju, a big Badgers fan, said he tries to attend at least one Badgers football game every year. Some of his favorite UW traditions include the Badgers’ insistence on staying in the stands at Camp Randall at the end and celebrating the fifth quarter, regardless of the outcome of the game.

Raju encouraged the badgers to take this spirit of endurance with them wherever they can go in the world.

“The Wisconsin way isn’t just how we jump before the end of the fourth quarter, it’s also how we stay when the fifth quarter begins,” Raju said. “Remember what we’re doing here in Madison – remember we jump when we see the right, and we can stay when we can’t yet.”

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