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UW-Eau Claire Commencement Speaker Stresses Lifelong Learning and Leadership

RELEASED: May 17, 2008

Dr. Jane Schauer
Dr. Jane Schauer

EAU CLAIRE — Dr. Jane Schauer, a cardiologist with the Presbyterian Heart Group in Albuquerque, N.M., and a 1976 University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire nursing graduate, today received an Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award and delivered the university's commencement address during the morning and afternoon ceremonies.

In her address, Schauer urged the 1,000-plus graduates to enthusiastically embrace the concept of lifelong learning.

"UW-Eau Claire has given all of you, as graduates, a firm foundation in learning, and now it's up to you to take that foundation and build on it," Schauer said.

When she graduated from the nursing program, all graduates were told they had been chosen to attend UW-Eau Claire because they were leaders and they now had to go out in the world to find their individual ways to lead, Schauer said. She heard the message, but at the time didn't take it in. But later, those words came back to her and she took them to heart, she said.

Schauer earned a doctorate in exercise physiology from UW-Madison, where she also attended medical school, completed her residency in internal medicine and completed a fellowship in cardiology.

With that in mind, Schauer told Saturday's graduates: "Guess what? You're not done! You're just beginning on a path of lifelong learning."

Schauer advised the graduates to "lead from your heart." Everyone — parents, friends, teachers and relatives — will offer advice, but no one else can truly know what's right for another person, she said. When a person knows what's right, there really aren't any obstacles that can't be overcome, she said.

Quoting her 25-year-old niece, Schauer told graduates, "We have all we need right here." She also reminded them of the often-quoted line from Shakespeare: "To thine own self be true."

Graduates should give back and begin to think of themselves as future philanthropists, Schauer said. That is a lesson she learned at UW-Eau Claire long before there was an official service-learning requirement for graduation, she said, noting she was drawn to the field of cardiology after volunteering to help those needing cardiac care rehabilitation.

"Take your service-learning lessons out there with you," Schauer said.

Finally, Schauer told graduates their education is something nobody can take from them.

"You can't lose it in the stock market, you can't be fired from it and it can't divorce you," Schauer said of their college education and UW-Eau Claire degree.

Education and the pursuit of knowledge are never done, Schauer said.

Chancellor Dr. Brian Levin-Stankevich also spoke to the graduates during the morning and afternoon ceremonies. He mentioned many graduates by name, congratulating them on overcoming everything from a life-threatening illness to a spouse serving in Iraq, from the loss of a parent to one graduate's 37-year break in her formal education.

Levin-Stankevich also noted that May 17 is a good date for beginnings. In past years, May 17 was the date Lewis and Clark set out to explore the Northwest, Alaska became a territory and the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education.

During his remarks, Levin-Stankevich praised the quality of the faculty and staff at UW-Eau Claire. He recognized a number of retiring faculty members, thanking them for their many contributions to the university.

Referring to UW-Eau Claire's motto of "excellence," Levin-Stankevich closed with a quote given to him by a December 2007 graduate: "Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible."

-30-

NW/JB

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Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.