STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Wilmington’s Samuel Cahoon Graduates From University Of Wisconsin-Madison

Below is an announcement from the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

MADISON, WI — Just over 1,750 students received degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison during a commencement ceremony at the Kohl Center on Dec. 18, 2022.

Among the graduates were Samuel Cahoon, of Wilmington. (College of Letters and Science, Doctor of Philosophy, Chemistry)

About 1,200 of them took part in the ceremony at the Kohl Center. Total attendance, including graduates, was 6,609. The ceremony was livestreamed so that friends and family from around the world could join in.

“Student speaker Kirstan Gimse, of Republic, Michigan related to the graduates about how she earned a PhD in cellular and molecular pathology after dropping out of high school.

“We have all come from different places, taken different paths and have different perspectives,” Gimse said from the stage. “It is the culmination of our differences that makes UW-Madison so great.”

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin, participating in her first UW-Madison commencement, encouraged graduates to give themselves and others a little grace in the years ahead. If they take the kinds of risks needed to do big things, she told them, there will be moments when they drop the ball.

To put those moments in perspective, Mnookin shared some advice that she said came from her younger sister.

“Many of the balls you’ll have to juggle are rubber, but some are crystal,” Mnookin said. “Those rubber balls, they bounce. If you drop one, you can pick it up on the next bounce and try again.”

But the crystal balls don’t bounce, Mnookin said. They break, and there’s just no way to put them back together.

“So in your work life and in the rest of your life, be sure you’re prioritizing what’s critically important – your family, your health, your closest friends, the things at work that really matter – so that when you drop a ball or two, the balls you drop are the rubber ones.”

Comedian Charlie Berens, the keynote speaker, told the graduates he worked many jobs – bike mechanic, salesman, model for ShopKo, news reporter – before eventually hitting it big with “Manitowoc Minute.”

“Time will move fast,” he told graduates. “Your job isn’t to slow it down. Your job is to fill your days with what lights your soul. And don’t worry if you can’t see the path. Once your soul is lit, the path will reveal itself. And on your path – and this is most important – make sure you watch out for deer.”

For more information about UW-Madison, visit View the ceremony at and read about it at

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