'We want to transform this region:' Foxconn executive inspires graduates at UW-Parkside

KENOSHA -- Saturday, Dec. 15 was a special day for hundreds of students at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, who graduated as part of the "50 Years of Commencement Celebration." The graduates were given some invaluable advice from Alan Yeung, Ph.D., a top executive from Foxconn.

The studying paid off, the late nights of homework were over and the tassels were ready to be moved across their caps Saturday morning.

John Guske

"I'm so happy," said John Guske, a business graduate. "I'm thankful that it's done, and I can't wait to see what the future brings."

The 2018 winter graduating class was larger than last year, and the students were part of a trend spanning 10 years. More people are graduating from college every year.

While some students already had a job lined up, others said they were still searching, but every student took away something different from commencement speaker Alan Yeung.

"We want to transform this region to be the next Silicon Valley of the Midwest," said Yeung.

Alan Yeung

Nishi Prajapati

While the number of graduates has increased, so has the economic development throughout the region.

"Being local is important to me," said Nishi Prajapati, business graduate.

The graduates pondered the potential jobs just a few miles down the road at the Foxconn plant, under construction in Mount Pleasant.


"I feel like it's more relatable," said Guske. "It seems like it's more attainable -- something we can do, seeing as it's somebody that's from the area."

In his speech, Yeung talked about artificial intelligence, what it means to be human and how important skills like communication and collaboration are part of the 21st century workplace. He, too, sat in a similar seat years ago as the first college graduate in his family.

"Our work should be about solving people's problems, and improving life for all citizens in Wisconsin," said Yeung. "Be authentic. Be bold. Be a catalyst -- and go change the world or someone's life."