Nearly 2,000 graduate from Upper Iowa University as Class of 2014 urged to inspire dreams for others

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Home EVENTS & NEWS Nearly 2,000 graduate from Upper Iowa University as Class of 2014 urged to inspire dreams for others

Nearly 2,000 graduate from Upper Iowa University as Class of 2014 urged to inspire dreams for others

Upper Iowa University 2014 graduates had to wear shades as they waited for Commencement to begin at Harms-Eischeid Stadium at Upper Iowa University May 10.  Although threatening skies moved the afternoon Commencement ceremony inside to Dorman gymnasium, the morning was fine enough to allow UIU to hold its first outdoor commencement in 18 years.


FAYETTE, Iowa (May 10, 2014) - Upper Iowa University held its 2014 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 10 - the morning ceremony outdoors in Harms-Eischeid Stadium, the afternoon event moved indoors to Dorman Gymnasium after skies turned threatening.  The morning ceremony was the first outdoor ceremony in 18 years on the Fayette campus.

John D. Stavnes, Class of 1975, and retiring Wells-Fargo regional president, gave the commencement address, telling graduates, "If you want something you've never had, you must do something you've never done."

"We're going to watch dreams come true here today," Stavnes said. "Not just the dreams of you graduates.  Remember that you are living someone else's dream.  To the people who support you, for your fan club, you play a starring role in their dreams and that will drive you to be successful.

Stavnes spoke of his own growing up on a farm in Northeast Iowa.  His father was a farmer, the son of a Norwegian immigrant.  He had to leave school in eighth grade, married and raised seven children, and always stressed the importance of education.

"One of my father's proudest moments was watching me walk across the stage at graduation," Stavnes added.  "Living those dreams has been my strongest motivation.  One of my crappiest days would be my mother and father's wildest dreams. For your fan club, I know today isn't the end of anything; it's the beginning of everything."

Stavnes told graduates to emulate the qualities he has found that are shared by truly great people: "be humble, have an unbending will to serve others, keep your moral compass firmly pointed north, always be concerned about how you make others feel, and don't be concerned about yourself but be a servant leader."

He urged graduates "be generous and inspire dreams for others."

"I hope you get to experience what I have experienced for over 30 years, waking up and saying to yourself, 'Good. It's morning.  I get to do it again,'" he concluded.

About 2,000 students who earned associate's, bachelor's or master's degrees from UIU graduated in 2014. Of those, 230 graduated from the Fayette location, more than 850 completed their degree at a U.S. center, 450 graduated through online or self-paced study programs, and 350 were from the international centers in Hong Kong and Malaysia. UIU is one of the most diverse universities in Iowa. In all, the graduates represented 40 states and 14 nations.

About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 6,200 students – nationally and internationally – at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit