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(L-R) Nicole Will and Mike Kline earned prestigious honors, Alec Brown had a busy graduation week
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Notebook: Phoenix Athletics Well-Represented at May 2014 Commencement

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
Release: May 20, 2014
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By: Ryan Hartwig (@GBHartwig)

GREEN BAY, Wis. ( – Saturday, May 17 marked the 2014 edition of UW-Green Bay’s annual spring commencement ceremony at the Kress Events Center. A total of 34 Phoenix student-athletes graduated, and several associated with Green Bay Athletics received University honors.

Check out the notebook below for a recap of athletics-related highlights from this weekend’s commencement activities.

Green Bay cross country runner Nicole Will (Luxemburg, Wis.) was selected as the recipient of the May 2014 Outstanding Student Award by the UW-Green Bay Alumni Association. She was nominated and selected from among approximately 900 graduating seniors, and she accepted the honor on Friday evening at an awards ceremony on campus.

On Saturday, Will walked across the stage to receive her bachelor’s degree in human biology with an emphasis in exercise science. She maintained a perfect 4.0 grade-point average throughout her college career and graduated with highest honors in just three years.

Read more: Will in the spotlight

A multiple winner of Academic All-Horizon League honors, Will served as a tutor for several biology and chemistry courses, and also worked closely with UW-Green Bay faculty members on various research projects and other assignments. She has been extremely active in the Green Bay and campus communities, serving as the president of the AT/PT/OT Club for students pursuing careers in physical therapy, assisting with the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon and Green Bay Triathlon, and also volunteering with the Habitat for Humanity and the local Cerebral Palsy Center. She has also served as an assistant track coach at Luxemburg-Casco Middle School and worked at the front desk at the Kress Events Center.

Earlier this spring, Will was accepted into the Doctor of Physical Therapy program at UW-Madison.

Joining Will as a Chancellor’s Medallion recipient was softball senior Stacey Butts (Greenfield, Wis.). Winners of the University Leadership Award were softball sophomore Ashley Baker (Green Bay, Wis.), women’s basketball sophomore Ellen Edison (Maple Grove, Minn.), women’s cross country junior Kayla Hucke (Hartland, Wis.) and softball junior Hailey Mohrfeld (Menomonee Falls, Wis.).

Green Bay head cross country coach and academic coordinator Mike Kline also received special recognition on commencement day, as Chancellor Thomas K. Harden selected him to receive UW-Green Bay’s highest community honor – the Chancellor’s Award.

Chancellor Harden indicated that he wanted to honor Kline, the first active employee in school history to receive the award, for his tireless energy and “absolute devotion to this University and to our students. He is a wonderful ambassador and recruiter for UW-Green Bay.”

Kline is a 1988 graduate of UW-Green Bay (human development, psychology and philosophy), and has served his alma mater and community for three decades as an employee, volunteer and advocate. He took over as head coach of the men’s and women’s cross country teams in 1987, and in 1999 he accepted the role of academic coordinator for all Phoenix teams. He has helped Green Bay Athletics achieve a GPA of 3.0 or better in an impressive 29 consecutive semesters.

Four graduating seniors may have missed the official commencement ceremony at the Kress Events Center, but they still had their names read over the loudspeaker and received their diplomas in front of friends and family on Saturday afternoon.

Green Bay softball players Miranda Reinke (Milwaukee, Wis.), Gabrielle Cassady (Janesville, Wis.), Shannon Butts (Greenfield, Wis.) and Stacey Butts (Greenfield, Wis.), who were participating in the 2014 NCAA Tournament in Minneapolis over the weekend, had their diplomas presented to them by Director of Athletics Mary Ellen Gillespie on the field prior to Saturday’s game against Auburn.

The graduating class helped lead the Phoenix to a 27-14 overall record, tying the program best for wins in a season. Green Bay also collected its first Horizon League regular season title in school history, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for just the second time. 

Former Green Bay men’s basketball star and business administration grad Alec Brown (Winona, Minn.) had a unique job interview prior to Saturday’s commencement ceremony, as the versatile 7-foot-1 big man was one of just 60 players invited to participate in the 2014 NBA Draft Combine, held Wednesday-Sunday in Chicago.

Read all about Brown’s busy week, and how he was the final graduate to walk across the stage and shake Chancellor Harden’s hand on Saturday: Harden’s commencement farewell has big finish

UW-Green Bay graduates, including former women’s soccer player Chanel Aries (Calgary, Alberta), reflect on their time at the school in this video recap of the 2014 commencement ceremony. The video also shows several other Phoenix student-athletes and staff members participating in the day’s events.

Photo galleries from commencement are also available on UW-Green Bay’s website:
Day in Photos, Part I
Day in Photos, Part II: Celebration

Alec Brown, Men’s Basketball, Business Administration
Gabrielle Cassady, Softball, Business Administration
Ellen Joppe, Women’s Soccer, Business Administration
Sabrina Marunowski, Volleyball, Business Administration
Leah Poel, Volleyball, Business Administration
Stephen Wagner, Men’s Cross Country, Business Administration
Chanel Aries, Women’s Soccer, Communication
Paul Choudoir, Men’s Nordic Skiing, Communication
Brittany Groth, Volleyball, Communication
Jonathan Lesniak, Men’s Swimming, Communication
Monica Anderson, Volleyball, Democracy and Justice Studies
Shannon Butts, Softball, Democracy and Justice Studies
Tyler Evans, Men’s Swimming, Design Arts
Eddie Gurney, Men’s Nordic Skiing, Economics
Kelly Baron, Women’s Swimming, Education
Stacey Butts, Softball, Education
Lindsy Cook, Women’s Cross Country, Education
Taylor Trelka, Women’s Swimming, Education, Social Work
Paul Malcore, Men’s Cross Country, English
Wayne Clark, Men’s Nordic Skiing, History
Melissa Killpatrick, Women’s Swimming, History|
Maria Anderson, Women’s Tennis, Human Biology
Carrie Dinelli, Women’s Diving, Human Biology
Jenna Harrington, Women’s Soccer, Human Biology
Jacki Johnson, Women’s Golf, Human Biology
Katie Mroczenski, Volleyball, Human Biology
Miranda Reinke, Softball, Human Biology
Renee Therrien, Women’s Soccer, Human Biology
Nicole Will, Women’s Cross Country, Human Biology
Lyndsay Zabkowicz, Volleyball, Human Biology
Hailey Feltz, Women’s Nordic Skiing, Human Development, Psychology
Breannah Ranger, Women’s Basketball, Human Development
Allison Goecks, Softball, Psychology
Sam Zastrow, Women’s Basketball, Social Work


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