Caps and gowns fill downtown Milwaukee as students graduate from MU, UWM, Cardinal Stritch

Mercedes Islas

MILWAUKEE -- Caps and gowns filled downtown Milwaukee on Sunday, May 19 as students from several schools walked across the stage to accept their diplomas -- preparing for the next step in their lives. Graduation ceremonies were held for University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM), Marquette University (MU) and Cardinal Stritch University students.

"I'm amazed that it actually, this day finally came, that I've been successful," said Mercedes Islas, UWM graduate.

For the very first time, Marquette University's commencement ceremony was held at Fiserv Forum. Commencement was previously held at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Ryan Serfas

"Supremely excited and really overwhelmed with gratitude," said Ryan Serfas, Marquette graduate.

UWM graduates lined up at the Panther Arena. One of those graduates, Islas, found out she was pregnant with her second child soon after she was accepted into the nursing program.

"I cannot wait to start working as a nurse," said Islas.

Another UWM graduate said the time flew by -- but felt proud standing in her cap and gown.

UWM graduation

Ashley Handley

"I'm looking forward to finally graduating and seeing all the people that I went to school with walk across that stage with me too," said Ashley Handley, UWM graduate.

The ceremony for Cardinal Stritch graduates was held in the Wisconsin Center. Many graduates said it was exciting that students from other schools were graduating with them -- as part of the class of 2019.

"It's so exciting to see people I went to high school with that are in different schools in Milwaukee graduating as well," said Handley.