Photo Series: UWL students celebrate graduation at commencement ceremony


Photo taken by Maija Sikora.

Liberti Jonas-Jongebloed, General Assignment Reporter

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse held their fall 2021 commencement on Sunday, Dec. 19 at the La Crosse Center. Over 700 graduates and their families and friends were in attendance. There were two ceremonies, one held at 10 a.m. for the College of Business Administration, College of Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities students and Associate degree candidates. The second ceremony was held at 2 p.m. and celebrated Graduate degree candidates and students from the College of Science and Health, and the School of Education.  

Graduates were directed to bring a maximum of four guests and all in attendance were required to wear masks. In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the administration also broadcasted commencement live for individuals who could not attend.  

Students of the fall 2021 class were also able to contribute their biographies and signatures to the digital year books, which include the graduates’ accomplishments, their future plans and their messages of gratitude for their loved ones.  

Graduate Nick Kartschoke said the best piece of advice he received from a UWL alumnus was the idea that, “20 years from now when you are telling stories from college, nobody is going to find a story about spending 40 hours a week at the library interesting.” Kartschoke said, “I like to think that 20 years from now, I’ll have a lot of funny, crazy, and interesting stories to tell. As I graduate and begin working, I’m going to miss creating those experiences with the friends I’ve made through college.”  

The now former Racquet Press Executive Editor and graduate Julia Balli discussed her future plans. “After graduation, I plan on continuing to graduate school to continue communications research. While my time here has been rewarding, I will not lie, it was also really challenging for me,” said Balli. “No one expected a whole pandemic to happen, so navigating my courses and extracurriculars in an online environment was very difficult. I’m grateful to be able to navigate my work in both an in-person and online environment, but making that switch was rough.”  

In Balli’s final remarks, she reflected on her own experience. Balli said, “As a bisexual Hispanic woman, I have experienced many [racist, sexist and homophobic] incidents myself, and I have often felt that I wouldn’t be heard by the university if I reported them. UWL puts a lot of emphasis on an inclusive and diverse environment, but being a student here, I have found more support amongst other students/student orgs than from the university itself. Even looking at mental health resources on campus, there is a complete disregard for students’ mental wellbeing on an administrative level. I hope that in years after my graduation, UWL will prioritize students more and actually make an inclusive campus.”

More information regarding the fall commencement and future commencements can be found at .