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Parkside looks to the future during 50th anniversary commencement ceremony
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Parkside looks to the future during 50th anniversary commencement ceremony

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SOMERS — Sharing the stage Saturday with Foxconn executive Alan Yeung, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Deborah Ford celebrated the past and hypothesized about the future.

“Our founders may not have envisioned iPhones, robotic surgery and much more of the technology that has become the catalyst of our world today,” Ford said. “Fifty years from now, graduates and well-wishers may even arrive in autonomous vehicles or maybe flying cars.”

Nearly 400 graduates repositioned their tassels as Parkside honored its 50th anniversary at the school’s winter commencement ceremony Saturday at a jam-packed DeSimone Gymnasium.

The event included speeches from Yeung and Michael Grebe, a member of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents.

Yeung, a University of Wisconsin graduate, serves as Foxconn’s director of U.S. strategic initiatives. His negotiating efforts resulted in a $10 billion investment in Wisconsin — the largest foreign investment in U.S. history — and construction of North America’s only TFT-LCD fabrication plant in Mount Pleasant.

Yeung focused on his always-evolving industry and discussed future technology, specifically how artificial intelligence coincides with natural intelligence.

“We’ll always be growing and changing,” Ford said. “The need for individuals who possess the knowledge and desire to adapt to change and embrace our new, talent-demand landscape has never been greater.”

Grebe highlighted some of the things which make Parkside so unique. Nearly 60 percent of Parkside undergraduate students are first-generation college students. Parkside also boasts a 90-percent acceptance rate for its pre-medicine graduates, a rate nearly twice the national average.

“Those are more than just impressive numbers,” Grebe said. “They’re a tangible demonstration of only a few of the ways UW-Parkside is promoting excellence and having a positive impact on students, their families and our community.”

There have been more than 25,000 UW-Parkside graduates since its founding in 1968.

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