To our international Badgers in the Class of 2020,
I want to offer my congratulations all of you on this significant milestone.
It has been a long journey, and I hope that when you reflect back on the challenges and successes that you have encountered along the way that you find yourselves ready and eager for the next part of your story.
I know from personal experience that pursuing a degree at a university far from home often has an additional layer of challenges, but I feel those challenges are accompanied by even greater rewards. Through focus, determination, and the encouragement of friends and family, you learned to navigate a different country, different culture, and maybe even a different language from your own. As a result, you have gained a unique global perspective and insights that will be invaluable throughout your personal and professional lives. I am proud you have achieved this and urge you to continue to grow as global citizens.
Circumstances over the past few months did not allow you to mark the days leading up to commencement the way you might have liked. We all looked forward to gathering in class, having lively discussions with peers, enjoying time on the Terrace, and even making the hike up Bascom Hill one more time. While this is certainly disappointing, I hope that it will be all the more reason to return to Madison in the future and take part is some of your favorite pastimes and traditions. Your time as students may be ending, but your time as Badgers is not. You are now alumni and are always welcome back.
The COVID-19 pandemic has offered many lessons. Among these is the need for global partnerships and a network that allows us to work across borders to develop solutions to problems that we all face. The relationships you have forged and strengthened at UW–Madison positions you to play a key role in building these collaborations. As you move forward in your careers, please maintain the friendships and bonds you have made with fellow Badgers, as well as UW–Madison faculty and staff, and consider how you might collaborate. Such partnerships will lay the foundation for future prosperity and peace.
Wherever your path leads you, know that we take great pride in your accomplishments and look forward to seeing what the future holds for you. Thank you for choosing the University of Wisconsin–Madison and for being a part of our community.
Vice provost and dean
International Division, University of Wisconsin–Madison