This news release describes past events and should be used for historical purposes only. Please note date of release.
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield Hall 218
Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004
UW System Regent Jay Smith
Addresses UW-Eau Claire Graduates
phone (715) 836-4741
fax (715) 836-2900

MAILED: May 21, 1999

EAU CLAIRE — By definition, commencement means a new beginning, UW System Board of Regents Vice President Jay Smith told the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's 1,057 candidates for graduation during commencement exercises today (Saturday, May 22).
"But do not start your new beginning thinking in terms of careers or jobs — instead think about how you want to live and what you want to accomplish," Smith said in his Charge to the Class. "Capture your thoughts now, before you get immersed in life's details. You will never be positioned again with quite the same perspective you have in front of you today."
Smith encouraged graduates to capture their thoughts now, write them down and review them periodically.
"In those thoughts, try to develop a mental road map of where you want to travel in your life," Smith said. "Don't think in terms of a job description or your salary. Think of what you want to accomplish in life. It won't be the same as the person next to you or across the street."
UW-Eau Claire graduates are coming from a slow-moving, protected and structured environment, Smith said. At the university, rules don't change much and students are taught to solve problems, he said.
But as graduates, UW-Eau Claire's new alumni are entering a fast-moving environment where they won't be protected, Smith said. Rules will change constantly and a premium is placed on breadth and creative action, he said, adding that graduates will be expected to make decisions and solve problems.
As UW-Eau Claire graduates, they will be graded on the challenges they take on, the barriers they knock down, contributions they make to their chosen field and their record of public service, Smith said, noting that they also will be graded on how well they communicate, their values and their sense of family.
What was true of a business three years ago likely isn't true of it today, Smith said, encouraging graduates to continue learning even after leaving UW-Eau Claire. Sixty percent of workers today believe that their job will require new and different skills in the next three years, Smith said.
"Corporations used to feel a responsibility for lifelong employment," Smith. "Today they feel instead a responsibility for lifelong learning ... In today's business world, in a sense, you are your own employer."
As a result, employers are looking for people who take educated risks, people who can dream and create vision, and people who have imagination and enjoy life, Smith said. People with a high sense of integrity and people who understand how a workplace functions will be valuable in today's business world, he said. He also said today's workers need to have a global perspective and standards, be adaptable and open to chance and combine soft skills with technical skills.
"Be confident in this environment," Smith said. "Where it sounds more difficult or more complicated, the environment I described actually offers more opportunity for the individual. Especially individuals that are prepared at your level.
"You are positioned for tomorrow's environment. I hope you feel that UW-Eau Claire has served you well. After you prepare your personal mental road map, take time to enjoy the trip."

UWEC [Administrative Offices] [News Bureau]

Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 218
(715) 836-4741

Updated: May 24, 1999