L&S Commencement spotlight: Class of 2017

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This weekend, 8,123 students will graduate from UW–Madison, their individual stories becoming part of the rich history of the Badger experience.

Some overcame immense challenges to get here. Many persevered through adversity to earn their degrees. All have achieved a cherished goal.

Here are two examples of how L&S members of the Class of 2017 made their mark. Read more stories of outstanding UW-Madison 2017 graduates here

Excelling at academics, activism, art

Deshawn McKinney of Milwaukee leaves his undergraduate years having acquired a wealth of honors. A Rhodes Scholar finalist, he was the recipient of both a Truman Scholarship and a Marshall Scholarship—two prestigious national awards that place him among the very top of college students in the country.

He leaves behind a better campus, too. He has worked to promote equity and diversity at UW–Madison and far beyond. An English-creative writing major, McKinney was a PEOPLE scholar and part of the First Wave Hip Hop and Urban Arts Learning Community on campus. His senior year, he served as president of the Wisconsin Union Directorate.

He will be pursuing a master’s degree in social policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Read an interview with McKinney.

Exposing the realities of poverty

Brooke Evans

Brooke Evans of Waukesha put a name and a face to problems few knew existed. With striking candidness, she shared her story of being a homeless and food-insecure college student with media outlets like Glamour, NPR, USA Today and the New York Times.

She became a prominent national voice on the issues and the first homeless student appointed to UW–Madison’s student government body. Her advocacy led to real change—due to her efforts, the first food pantry opened at UW–Madison in 2016, and university officials are pursuing her idea of allowing food stamps as a payment option at campus dining facilities.

She credits much of her success to the support and opportunities afforded her by the McNair Scholars Program. Graduating with a degree in philosophy, Evans has accepted a fellowship after graduation and will enter professional school in the next year.

Read more stories of L&S graduates here: Commencement Spotlight: Class of 2017.