A University of Wisconsin alumus who played a pivotal role in the construction of a World War II Memorial will address UW graduates at both ceremonies on Sunday, Dec. 19, UW officials announced Friday.
UW alumna and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Ohio, earned her bachelor’s degree in history at UW before attending the University of Michigan, where she received a master’s degree in urban planning, according to a statement from UW.
Provost Paul DeLuca said a shared governance committee makes recommendations on commencement speakers. The members select individuals who have unique perspectives and can relay a message to a large audience clearly. The committee also looks for someone who is relevant, DeLuca said.
According to a statement on her website, Kaptur introduced the legislation that authorized construction of the World War II Memorial, which sits between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument. The Veterans of Foreign Wars honored Kaptur for her introducing this legislation and for her advocacy on behalf of veterans by presenting her with the VFW Americanism Award.
The first person in her family to attend college, Kaptur worked for 15 years as a city and regional planner in her hometown of Toledo, Ohio. During that time, she was selected to serve as an urban adviser to President Jimmy Carter.
Kaptur was recently elected to serve her 15th term, the statement said. She represents Ohio’s ninth district, which includes Toledo and other towns in Northern Ohio along Lake Erie.
According to the UW statement, Kaptur was the first female Democrat to sit on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. She currently serves as a member of the House Appropriations and Budget committees, according to a statement from UW.
UW spokesperson John Lucas said UW is looking forward to an exciting weekend of celebrations and an interesting speech from Kaptur.
“We’re honored to welcome back an alumna who’s distinguished herself over many years in Congress,” Lucas said.
UW senior Brianna Ditzenberger said after four and half years at UW, she wishes the speaker would be someone humorous, such as comedian Ellen DeGeneres. But she said she hoped someone who’s achieved success, such as Kaptur, will be inspiring.
The ceremonies will take place at 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at the Kohl Center and each will last about two hours.
While an exact number of graduates won’t be determined until late January, about 1,600 students are eligible to graduate each December.