Returning adult students shine at University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Winter Commencement Ceremony

Returning adult students shine at University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Winter Commencement Ceremony

Chance Cork spent part of his childhood homeless, living in a car, and in foster care. He had a learning disability, dropped out of college, and entered the workforce. A university degree seemed way out of reach.

University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Winter Commencement Ceremony
‘Our doors are wide open to Wisconsin and to the world,’ said Chancellor Rebecca Blank. (Photo by Bryce Richter/UW-Madison)

Flash forward to Dec. 16, 2018, when Cork received his diploma at University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Winter Commencement Ceremony. And not only that: He received a shoutout in Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s commencement address for “working tirelessly to achieve the dream of a college degree.”

The chancellor praised Cork forovercoming enormous obstacles to reach this day.” He had help along the way from him family and fiancée, as well as from UW–Madison. Last spring, the Adult Career and Special Student Services office and the Dean of Students provided financial support by selecting Cork for an Outstanding Undergraduate Returning Adult Student Award. The award honors UW–Madison students who have resumed their academic pursuits after a significant interruption and have attained senior status while handling all the demands of adult life.

Appreciating adult students

University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Winter Commencement Ceremony
Chance Cork (also pictured above): ‘I am grateful to be in an atmosphere that appreciates adult students such as myself.’ (Photo by David Giroux)

Cork transferred to the university after a stint at Madison College, distinguishing himself in the Materials Science and Engineering Program. He was relieved to find that UW–Madison makes room for nontraditional undergraduates, easing their path with mentoring and financial assistance.

“I am grateful to be in an atmosphere that appreciates adult students such as myself,” Cork says.

Chancellor Blank hailed the other returning adult students in the Class of 2018, welcoming them to the “big Badger family.”

“This is what a great public university can do,” the chancellor said. “Our doors are wide open to Wisconsin and to the world.”

Adult Career and Special Student Services at UW–Madison Continuing Studies offers several scholarships and awards for returning adult students and other nontraditional learners. The application period for the 2018-19 school year runs through Feb. 20. For more information, see the scholarship webpage or email advising@dcs.wisc.edu.