The University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac will hold its annual spring Honors and Commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 18, in the Prairie Theater, 400 University Dr., Fond du Lac.
Rick Parks, president and chief executive officer of Society Insurance, a multi-state property casualty insurance company headquartered in Fond du Lac since 1918, will be the Commencement speaker. His appreciation for education is rooted in his own achievement as the first male on either side of his family to graduate from college. His father was the first male in the family to graduate from high school and his grandfather never attended school.
After unsuccessfully seeking employment in banking, Parks reports he “reluctantly pursued” employment in the insurance industry, where he quickly advanced into management positions and took on his first executive role at age 37. He joined Society Insurance as senior vice president and COO in 2005, was elected to the board of directors in 2008, and assumed his current role in 2011.
Following his parent’s directive to give back to the community, Parks is past chair of the Association of Commerce and the Fond Lac County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He served on the steering committee to found Envision Greater Fond du Lac, is a member of the Fond du Lac Noon Rotary Club, and served as the honorary chair of the Fond du Lac Area United Way fund raising campaign. Outside of Fond du Lac, he was elected to two terms on the West Bend School Board, serving as board president his final year. He has also served multiple terms on the board of Forward Services, a non-profit organization headquartered in Madison that manages job training and preparedness programs for youth and adults throughout Wisconsin, and he is active in insurance industry groups at the state and national level.
The student speaker at the annual graduation ceremony is Alexzandra Schleh of Mt. Calvary. A graduate of New Holstein High School, Schleh plans to transfer to UW-Madison next fall to pursue a degree in elementary education. She is currently the president of Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society at UW-Fond du Lac.
UW-Fond du Lac graduates at the spring Commencement ceremony will be awarded the Associate of Arts and Science Degree.
A reception for graduates and their families will be held in the University Center Commons following the ceremony.