Congrats, 2019 Ripon College Grads! Watch the ceremony below, or read about it here.

Ripon College’s 2019 Commencement ceremony will be held Sunday, May 19, at 1 p.m. at the field house in Willmore Center. A special Senior Brunch and Forum is held just prior at 10:00 a.m. for graduates and their families along with a variety of other events throughout Commencement weekend.

Graduates who will participate in the Commencement ceremony and Senior Brunch and Forum are required to fill out the registration form below and include information on any guests who will attend the Senior Brunch and Forum. The Senior Brunch and Forum is free for graduates. There is a charge of $15 per guest.


Commencement Ceremony, Sunday, May 19

Each year, Ripon organizes Commencement activities around a theme. The 2019 theme celebrates “Caring for Our Environment” by recognizing regional partners and national exemplars who model actions to act locally on sustainability and conservation efforts.

Marc Edwards | Commencement Keynote and Honorary Degree Recipient

Marc EdwardsMarc Edwards is a University Distinguished Professor of Civil Engineering at Virginia Tech, where he teaches courses in environmental engineering, applied aquatic chemistry and engineering ethics. His research group conducted the investigative science uncovering the 2001-2004 D.C. Lead Crisis and the 2014-2016 Flint Water Disaster.

Time Magazine dubbed Edwards “The Plumbing Professor” in 2004, listing him among the four most important “Innovators” in water from around the world. The White House awarded him a Presidential Faculty Fellowship in 1996, and in 2013 Edwards’ was the 9th recipient (in a quarter century) of the IEEE Barus Award for “courageously defending the public interest at great personal risk.” In 2007 Edwards was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, commonly known as the “Genius Grant,” which recognizes individuals with extraordinary capacity for innovation and creativity.

In 2016, Edwards was named amongst TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential people in the World, the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine, Politico Magazine’s Top 50 Visionaries who have transformed American politics, Foreign Policy Magazine’s 100 World’s Greatest Thinkers, and was short-listed amongst Flint whistleblowers as TIME person(s) of the year. He was co-recipient of the inaugural 2017 MIT Disobedience Award, and received the 2018 Scientific Freedom and Responsibility Award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Edwards earned his bachelor’s degree in biophysics from the State University of New York at Buffalo and master’s and doctoral degrees in environmental engineering at the University of Washington.

John Nelson | Honorary Degree Recipient

John NelsonJohn Nelson, an adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, also will receive an honorary degree. He serves as chairman of MEP Associates LLC, an engineering consulting firm, and as chief technical officer of Fitzgerald Asset Management, an infrastructure asset manager. Nelson is past chair of the UW Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Board, a former board member of the Green Lake Association and a current member of the UW Foundation Board.

As a multi-generational property owner on Green Lake, Nelson has been a staunch advocate for finding scientific answers to Green Lake’s degrading water quality. He facilitated a research relationship between the Nelson Institute and Green Lake Association to provide historical data aggregation and issue-specific applied research. These efforts, in collaboration with a variety of other organizations and stakeholders, help the advancement of a model and plan for watershed management.

In 2018, Nelson and his wife, Linda, established an endowed professorship in the Nelson Institute’s Water Resource Management Center. They also established a Wisconsin Distinguished Graduate Fellowship to fund graduate students within the center. The center’s current chair, Professor Anita Thompson, and several of her graduate students have ongoing or completed research projects based on Green Lake.

2019 Founders' Day Award Recipients

Ripon College’s 2019 Founders’ Day Award will be presented to representatives from the Green Lake Association, Green Lake Sanitary District and Green Lake Conservancy. For the past 16 years, this award has been given to recognize an individual or organization in the greater Ripon community who exemplifies the ideals of the founders of Ripon College and who has contributed above and beyond to the mission of the school. The honored organizations are longtime collaborators with Ripon College and have contributed significantly for decades to sustainability and conservation efforts in Green Lake.

Full Commencement Weekend Schedule of Events

Thursday, May 16, 2019

  • 5:30 - 6:30 P.M. | Senior Cocktail Hour, Joyce Lounge, Lower Level Pickard Commons
  • 8:00 P.M. | Senior Class Champagne Toast, Bovay's Mercantile, Downtown Ripon

Friday, May 17, 2019

  • 1-9 P.M. | Bovay’s Study Bar & Mercantile Special Commencement Hours, 329 Watson Street, Downtown Ripon
  • 3:30 P.M. | Senior Class Photo, Harwood Memorial Union Steps (Rain site: Bear Auditorium)
  • 4-5:45 P.M. | Senior Rehearsal, Bear Auditorium, Farr Hall of Science
  • 7:30 P.M. | Senior Banquet, Bovay Terrace

Saturday, May 18, 2019

  • 7:30 A.M.-4 P.M. | Common Grounds: "We Proudly Brew Starbucks" Coffee Shop, Lower Level, Pickard Commons
  • 8 A.M.- 9 P.M. | Ripon College Senior Art, Lobby, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts
  • 9 A.M.-4 P.M. | Bovay's Study Bar & Mercantile Special Commencement Hours, 329 Watson Street, Downtown Ripon

Saturday Afternoon Academic Receptions

The following Academic Receptions are for graduating majors, minors and their families:

  • 1-2:30 P.M. | Communication, Home of Dr. Jody Roy and Jon Roy, 631 East Jackson Street
  • 1-2:30 P.M. | Psychology/Psychobiology, Evans Admission Center
  • 1-3 P.M. | Biology/Chemistry-Biology/Environmental Studies/Psychobiology/Physics, North Reading Room, Lane Library
  • 1-3 P.M. | Chemistry/Chemistry-Biology, Home of Dr. Colleen M. Byron and Dr. Gary S. Rodman, 908 Nordane Avenue
  • 1-3 P.M. | Exercise Science, Willmore Center Atrium
  • 1:30-2:30 P.M. | Politics & Government and National Security, Faculty Lounge, East Hall
  • 1:30-2:30 P.M. | Philosophy and Religion, Joyce Lounge, S.N. Pickard Commons
  • 1:30-3:30 P.M. | Business Management/Economics Retirement Celebration for Paul Schoofs, Patricia Parker Francis Professor of Economics, College Museum, West Hall
  • 2-3:30 P.M. | Foreign Languages/Cultures and German, Home of Professor Dr. Geoff Guevara-Geer and Ms. Lea Cicchiello, 206 Watson Street, Apt. #1
  • 2:30-3:30 P.M. | Education/Music/Theatre, Lobby, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts

Saturday Evening Events

  • 4-5:30 P.M. | President’s Reception with Complimentary Champagne Toast, for all graduates and their families, faculty and staff and special invitees, Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
  • 8-9 P.M. | Baccalaureate Service, An interfaith service featuring senior speakers and musical performances, First Congregational Church, 220 Ransom St.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

  • 7:30 A.M.-4 P.M. | Common Grounds: "We Proudly Brew Starbucks" Coffee Shop, Lower Level, Pickard Commons
  • 9 A.M-12:15 P.M. | One Last Photo: Toast your Graduate with One Last Family Picture (Free), Office of Career & Professional Development, S.N. Pickard Commons
  • 9 A.M-4 P.M. | Bovay’s Study Bar & Mercantile Special Commencement Hours, 329 Watson Street, downtown Ripon
  • 9:15 A.M. | Phi Beta Kappa Induction, Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
  • 10 A.M. | Senior Brunch and Forum, A discussion featuring the honorary degree recipients, moderated by Acting President Ed Wingenbach (Free for graduates, $15 for guests of graduates). Notes: Brunch served until 10:30 a.m. for graduates, families, friends, Trustees, faculty and staff, S.N. Pickard Commons, and the forum will follow from 10:30 to 11:30 A.M. The forum will be broadcast live on the College's Facebook page.
  • 12:15 P.M. | Commencement Procession Assembly, Graduates, faculty, and staff must line-up in the Keipe Gymnasium in the Willmore Center.
  • 1 P.M. | Commencement Ceremony, Willmore Center field house, 400 Union Street | The ceremony will be broadcast live on the College's Facebook page.


Where can I stay and eat in the Ripon area?
Click here for a list of lodging and dining options in the area.

Where is the Commencement rain location?
Commencement will be held Sunday, May 19, whether it rains, sleets or snows. Though most of us would prefer a warm day filled with bright sunshine, the weather has been known to provide challenges in the past. Sunday’s 1 p.m. ceremony is traditionally on the lawn of Harwood Memorial Union, but due to expected rainy weather, the ceremony will be moved to the field house in Willmore Center, located at 400 Union Street. Further updates on the day will be found on our Facebook page.

In Wisconsin, May weather can be balmy or downright frigid. More often than not, it is both on the same day. Please be prepared for changes in temperature by dressing in layers.

Where can I park?
Free parking is available on the streets surrounding the Union; however, spots will fill fast and early. Click to view our Campus Map. Off-street parking, denoted on the map by a P, is available in lots behind Smith Hall, on Thorne Street, at the corner of Seward Street and Woodside Avenue and off Ransom Street across from East Hall. Accessible parking, denoted on the map with an H, is available near the Union, outside Pickard Commons and at Evans Admission Center. Accessible parking also will be marked on Seward Street. If the ceremony is held inside or under a tent, free parking is available.

Is accessible seating and parking available?
Accessible seating and parking is available for the Commencement ceremony. Please ask an usher if you need special assistance. Individuals requiring special assistance should call the Office of Constituent Engagement at 920-748-8126 by May 6 to ensure appropriate accommodations.

When do I need to leave the residence halls?
The residence halls will close at 6 p.m. Sunday, May 19. All students must have their belongings removed and be checked out before that time. Students are reminded that they may donate unwanted items as part of the “Lighten Your Load” program (look for more information to come).

Do I need a ticket to attend the Commencement ceremony?
There are no tickets for the Commencement ceremony. Seating is first-come, first-served. While seating will be available outdoors, there are also plenty of grassy areas, and guests are welcome to bring blankets or lawn chairs. If the ceremony is moved indoors, seating will be more limited; so guests should plan to arrive early.

When and where is Commencement rehearsal?
Graduates are reminded to attend the Commencement rehearsal at 4 p.m., Friday, May 17, in Farr Hall’s Bear Auditorium. Be sure Acting President Wingenbach pronounces your name correctly!

When and where is the Senior Class photo to be taken?
Seniors are reminded to show up for the class photo at 3:30 p.m. Friday, May 17. A group photo of the Class of 2019 will be taken on the lawn in front of Tri-Dorms. Rain site is Bear Auditorium.

Will Starbucks be open on Sunday, May 19?
Common Grounds “We Proudly Brew” Starbucks, located in the lower level of S.N. Pickard Commons, will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, May 19. Starbucks offers hot and cold beverages, snacks and other refreshments.

What's the Baccalaureate Service? Is it religious? Who should attend?
Each year, the College includes an interfaith religious service as part of its Commencement weekend activities. Typically held the evening before Commencement, this year’s baccalaureate service will be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18, in First Congregational Church of Ripon. The ceremony is created by officers of the graduating class and the religion department.

The service does not focus on any one religious faith, but rather includes readings from each of the different religious traditions represented within the senior class. Musical selections are performed by students, and a brief address also is given by an individual chosen by members of the graduating class.

All graduating seniors and their families are invited to attend this free event, as are the faculty and staff of the College.

What's the policy on honor cords?
In past years, the College prohibited the wearing of any cords or stoles other than College honor cords and Phi Beta Kappa stoles. All departmental honor cords, Greek stoles and other accoutrements (within reason) are now allowed during the ceremony. Those items, however, will not be provided by the College or listed in the program.

Your question not answered here?
Call or email the Office of Constituent Engagement at 920-748-8126.

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300 W. Seward St. Ripon, WI 54971
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