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Tip Sheet for May Commencement 2012

May 14, 2012

Story Idea

Fifteen students are candidates for doctoral degrees in nursing, comprising the first graduating class from UW-Eau Claire's doctor of nursing practice program. This will be the first time UW-Eau Claire has awarded a doctoral degree in any program. The DNP is a clinical doctorate intended for nurses who assume leadership roles in the areas of advanced clinical practice or nursing administration. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is requiring the DNP degree for practicing advanced clinical practice nurses by 2015. Several of the DNP students who will graduate this weekend work for health care systems in western Wisconsin. Dr. Mary Zwygart-Stauffacher, director of graduate nursing programs, is available to talk about the DNP program. She also can put reporters in touch with graduating DNP students. You can reach Dr. Zwygart-Stauffacher at 715-836-4977 or

Story Idea

Graduation candidates from the College of Business, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and College of Education and Human Sciences will receive degrees during a 9 a.m. ceremony Saturday, May 19, in Zorn Arena. Candidates from the College of Arts and Sciences and candidates for doctoral and master's degrees will receive degrees during the 2 p.m. ceremony. A total of 1,316 students are candidates for bachelor's degrees, 121 students are master's degree candidates and 15 students are candidates for doctoral degrees.

Story Idea

Michael Perry, a 1987 alumnus who graduated with a degree in nursing, will deliver the "Charge to the Class" for both ceremonies. He also will receive an alumni award this weekend (see below).

Story Idea

The Alumni Association will honor several outstanding alumni this weekend during a luncheon at noon Saturday in Davies Center. Three alumni award recipients have strong ties to the Chippewa Valley.

  • Michael Perry, a 1987 nursing graduate, will receive the President's Award. A humorist and writer, Perry is the author of the best-selling books "Population 485: Meeting Your Neighbors One Siren at a Time," "Truck: A Love Story" and "Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting" and the essay collection "Off Main Street." He's written for Esquire, The New York Times Magazine, Outside, Backpacker, Orion and and is a contributing editor to Men's Health. His essays have been heard on NPR's "All Things Considered," and he hosts "Tent Show Radio," a weekly show from Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua near Bayfield.
  • Benjamin Frederick will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award. A 2002 political science grad, Frederick is a detective with the Eau Claire Police Department. A police school liaison officer for the Eau Claire Area School District, Frederick works at North High School. He worked with North's staff to create a student awareness program targeting bullying and cyberbullying for which he received the 2012 National Exemplary Bullying Prevention Program Award from the School Safety Advocacy Council, Students Against Violence Everywhere and the Florida Association of School Resource Officers.
  • Elizabeth Stabenow, a 1943 English-teaching grad, will receive the Lifetime Excellence Award. During 30 years of teaching English and history at Altoona High School, Stabenow had an impact on three generations of students. She directed plays, supervised the yearbook and newspaper staffs and played piano for the choir. She received several teacher awards before retiring in 1986. Since retiring, she's served the community in many ways. She's been a Sacred Heart Hospital volunteer since 1992, she participates in two bridge groups — one in Altoona and one for Eau Claire's Regis High School — that raise money for student scholarships, she has held every position in her P.E.O. chapter, she's been a Meals on Wheels volunteer for more than 20 years and she's served on her district's election board for 15 years.
Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.