||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
Kevin Gatzlaff Delivers
'Charge to the Class'
MAILED: Dec. 19, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- While learning certainly takes place in the classrooms at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, some of the most valuable learning happens outside those classroom walls, Kevin Gatzlaff told those gathered for UW-Eau Claire's winter commencement Saturday in Zorn Arena.
"The accumulation of facts is not the type of learning that is emphasized at UW-Eau Claire," said Gatzlaff, a senior management and business finance major from Rochester, Minn. "It's a much broader sense of learning that UW-Eau Claire attempts to instill."
Gatzlaff used his invitation to deliver the "Charge to the Class" at commencement while still an undergraduate student as an example of that broader type of learning.
"This is exactly the kind of opportunity and challenge that they emphasize here," said Gatzlaff, president of the Student Senate. "They know and I know how much they are asking."
In his speech titled "All the Answers," Gatzlaff said UW-Eau Claire provides its students with the opportunity to learn not only about classroom subjects, but also about themselves.
"The most important lessons we will take from UW-Eau Claire are the ones that we learn about life," he said. "These lessons aren't formal and they aren't explicit, but they are absolutely invaluable. UW-Eau Claire provides the environment in which they occur.
"Learning is an active, ongoing process. And throughout the rest of your life, you will learn as much -- or as little -- as you choose. This realization is the first step to success."
Gatzlaff continued by cautioning against accepting traditional definitions of success and failure.
"I am convinced that in order to be happy, each of us must come to our own definition of success," Gatzlaff said. "Nobody knows your abilities better than you do. And nobody is more qualified to assess your success than you are. I will promise you that there is a strong correlation between effort and success, but the effort part is up to you. Don't let anybody else ask for more and don't ever expect less from yourself."
Gatzlaff closed by emphasizing the importance of self-confidence. "I can't give you 'All the Answers' -- nobody can," he said. "But you can figure them out for yourself if you just believe in your potential, your talents and your abilities."
The winter commencement was held for 654 UW-Eau Claire students. Candidates in the College of Arts and Sciences and candidates for master's degrees in all schools and colleges received degrees during a 9:30 a.m. ceremony. Candidates from the College of Business and College of Professional Studies received degrees during the 2 p.m. ceremony.
A total of 619 students were candidates for bachelor's degrees and 35 students were candidates for master's degrees.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Dec. 23, 1997