UW-Eau Claire COB Graduate Reflects on her College Experience at Commencement
December 2009 College of Business graduate Jennifer Bailey, delivered the student “Reflection” speech at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Commencement, held December 19, 2009 at 2 pm in Zorn Arena. Bailey’s reflection was titled, “What is Your Story?”
Gretchen Hutterli, College of Business assistant dean, interviewed Bailey about her speech, her experience as a UW-Eau Claire business student, and her future plans.
Hutterli: First, congratulations on graduating summa cum laude from UW-Eau Claire! I know I speak for all College of Business faculty and staff when I say that we are very proud of you and your accomplishments.
One of your many accomplishments was being selected to give one of two “Reflection” speeches at commencement. Those who haven’t attended a commencement ceremony at UW-Eau Claire may not know what a “Reflection” speech is. What is a Reflection speech?
Bailey: A “Reflection” speech gives graduating students the opportunity to reflect on their time at UW-Eau Claire. All students graduating in December 2009 were invited to apply to deliver the "Reflections" at the commencement ceremonies. The university’s Commencement Committee reviewed all submissions and selected two speeches—one for the 9 am ceremony and a second speech for the 2 pm ceremony.
Hutterli: What was your Reflection about?
Bailey: My speech was about writing your story and sharing that story with others. Part of my story is that of being a Blugold, something which I am very proud of and that every Blugold should be proud of. Toward the end of my speech, I told the graduates that the world is theirs. I ended my speech with the following address to the graduates, “May you have the pride to believe in yourself, the power to dream big, and the courage to make those dreams come true.”
» View full text of the speech
Hutterli: Why did you want to give a commencement speech?
Bailey: I thoroughly enjoy public speaking and strive to become a nationally renowned motivational speaker in the future. Also, I am very proud of being a Blugold, and I wanted to share my story with my fellow Blugolds and encourage them to share their story with others.
Hutterli: How did it feel to give your reflection before so many people, including your family, friends and professors?
Bailey: It was absolutely amazing...a rush, if you will. I feed off of the audience.
Hutterli: Looking back on your experience at UW-Eau Claire, how did the College of Business prepare you for the future?
Bailey: The College of Business faculty, staff, and students have taught me first and foremost to conduct business in an ethical and professional manner. In the College of Business, I developed and polished my oral and written communication skills. Finally, amongst the vast knowledge, skills, and abilities I have acquired from my time in the College of Business, I sharpened my intrapersonal skills. With these intrapersonal skills I have the ability to relate to others on a one-on-one level.
Hutterli: Now that you have graduated, what are your plans for the future?
Bailey: As of the first of the year, I will begin my full-time position as a marketing specialist with Erbert & Gerbert’s E&G Franchise Systems, Inc. in Eau Claire. I am very excited to join the E&G Team! I encourage all to stop in and support their local Erbert & Gerbert’s Sandwich Shop!
Hutterli: Best wishes on your new job, Jennifer. It sounds fun and exciting.