By Carolyn Davis, NLU Wisconsin CampusThe gorgeous Grand Geneva Resort Ballroom set the stage for an elegant National Louis University (NLU) Wisconsin Commencement on Friday, June 3 at 7:30 pm in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Sixty-three graduates were conferred with degrees representing each level of scholarship offered by the university—doctorate, educational specialist, master’s and bachelor’s, from both the National College of Education and the College of Professional Studies and Advancement.
More than 650 family members and friends filled the ballroom to capacity, generating a palpable energy of excitement, joy, pride and satisfaction.
The ballroom stage was adorned with vibrant floral arrangements reflective of the NLU colors of platinum and blue. A chain of daisies extended across stage right and stage left, as an appreciative remembrance of a commencement custom from an earlier era when a select group of NLU alumni would march in the processional to welcome the new graduates into the NLU alumni family. Each alumnus would march in unison with one another, held together by a chain of daisies.
The evening’s ceremony evoked a synthesis of revered NLU traditions and the progressive ideals of 21st Century service-leadership.
As the Class of 2016 graduates crossed the platform, each received a single red carnation in memory of NLU founder and first president Elizabeth Harrison who often wore a knot of red carnations to brighten her wardrobe.
Dr. Jon Bales, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators, captivated the audience with his warm and sage inspirational keynote address about the essential traits of 21st century leadership. He underscored how each graduate, through their NLU education, is now prepared to step forward in their personal and career life to lead with strength, courage and humility. Dr. Bales used humor and personal anecdotes to demonstrate the importance of identifying one’s core values and living these ideals in word and deed.Educational Leadership doctoral candidate Reginald Lawrence II represented his fellow graduates as student speaker, and in his remarks he emphasized the importance of believing in order to see one’s commitments made manifest in life. Mr. Lawrence shared a heartfelt story about his father and mother struggling to create a family and how through the power of staying true to their dream of becoming parents, he and his sister entered the world. He talked about the importance of surrounding oneself with a community of believers and acknowledged the many supporters surrounding each graduate, each who contributed to their growth and the accomplishment of their degrees.
The evening concluded with a reception and light refreshments as graduates, guests, and NLU faculty and staff gathered in fellowship to celebrate the fine achievements of the NLU Wisconsin Class of 2016.