Ripon College 2013 Commencement
Thank you for joining us in celebrating Ripon College’s distinguished graduating class of 2013, which culminated in the College’s Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2013.
Nate Silver Honorary Degree Recipient and featured speaker
Dubbed a “spreadsheet psychic” and “wunderkind stat guy,” Silver became a breakout star of the 2008 presidential elections after his FiveThirtyEight blog correctly predicted the results of the primaries and the presidential winner in 49 states. In 2010 the blog was licensed by The New York Times. While the majority of pollsters and established pundits were shocked by the recent November 2012 presidential elections, Silver’s blog once again correctly predicted the outcome, this time of all 50 states.
His newest book, “The Signal and The Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t,” explores data-based predictions and how they underpin a growing sector of critical fields, from political polling and hurricane watches to the stock market and even the war on terror. Published last September, the book reached The New York Times Best Seller List for nonfiction and was named by Amazon.com as one of the best nonfiction books of 2012.
Dr. Steven Brams Honorary Degree Recipient
Dr. Brams is a professor in New York University’s Department of Politics. His research and writings have focused on game theory and its applications, particularly in political science and international relations, and social choice theory, particularly as applied to voting and elections.
Most recently he is the author of “Game Theory and the Humanities: Bridging Two Worlds.” Dr. Brams has served as president of the Peace Science Society and as president of the Public Choice Society. He is a Guggenheim Fellow, an American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, and was a Russell Sage Foundation Visiting Scholar.
Andrew Britton Distinguished Educator Award
By tradition, a third award will be handed out to a distinguished educator at the K-12 level who is nominated by a currently enrolled student. This year’s Distinguished Educator is Andrew Britton of Oshkosh West High School and was nominated by Kyle Ruedinger ’13.
Britton has taught Social Studies for 23 years, the last 20 of which have been at Oshkosh West High School. The Advanced Placement U.S. History classes that he founded at the school in 1997 now have 143 students, and his students pass the AP U.S. History exam at a rate nearly 50% higher than the global average.
Jessie Lillis Class of 2013 Speaker
2013 Commencement Theme: Data and Decisions
Liberally educated graduates enter the workforce and the world with the capacities for creative and critical thinking. A key element of their preparation is the development of academic skills of investigation and interrogation, analysis, and synthesis. In so many areas of inquiry at the College, quantitative and statistical data are the foundation for making and testing hypotheses and articulating experimental results.
The gathering, analysis, and interpretation of data, therefore, are fundamental to scholarly inquiry and to the advancement of knowledge. Outside of the academy, such work permeates the decision-making process in many related and sometimes overlapping spheres: reliable and valid political, medical, financial, professional and personal decisions are among the kinds that are – and must be – guided by data and informed by quantitative reasoning. At Commencement 2013, we celebrate the connection between data and decisions and honor distinguished individuals who have made unique contributions to our national and scholarly conversations on this topic.