Commencement spotlight: Class of 2016

May 9, 2016

Every one of the 6,517 students graduating this week has a unique story to tell about their UW–Madison experience — of challenges overcome, connections forged, contributions made.

Here are a few examples of how members of the Class of 2016 have made their mark.

Building community and promoting justice

Shannon Davis

Shannon Davis

Brandon Tillman

Brandon Tillman

Shannon Davis and Brandon Tillman both are passionate about working with young people and using restorative justice techniques to  strengthen communities.

For Davis, UW–Madison was a springboard to a second career — read more about how this undergraduate in the School of Social Work came to be recognized as one of the university’s outstanding adult returning students.

Tillman drew on processes he learned as a UW law student to mentor freshman and sophomore boys at Madison Memorial High School. Read more about the program he launched.

Promoting public health across the globe

Theo Loo

Theo Loo

So much can flow from a single choice. For Theo Loo in the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, the decision to take a class on health and global environmental change awakened both a love for research and the desire to keep working on a problem after the course ended. And that in turn led him to a village in South Africa — read the full story.

Excellence in the arts

Tiffany Merritt-Brown

Tiffany Merritt-Brown

“Clear vision, smart craftsmanship, fierce performance” — those are just a few of the words to describe Tiffany Merritt-Brown’s award-winning choreography. Following graduation, she and her cast of nine dancers will perform her work “Influx” at the World Dance Alliance-Americas in Mexico.

“Pursuing dance meant forgoing comfort, familiarity,” says Merritt-Brown, an undergraduate in the School of Education.”It also meant giving up weekends, school breaks, and even sleep … It meant not experiencing instant gratification, and spending long days and nights working in the studio and honing in on (my) craft.”

Read more about her achievements.

STEM and service

Michael Donovan

Michael Donovan

Michael Donovan chose a rigorous academic course in the College of Engineering, majoring in electrical engineering and mathematics. Seeking additional challenges, he enrolled in the Marine Corps Platoon Leaders Course — committing to two summers of grueling mental and physical activity.

How’d he do? Read on (hint: there’s a trophy).