Mid-Year Graduation

On December 17, 1995, over 100 business undergraduate and master's students from the Colleges of Commerce and Liberal Arts and Sciences gathered in the Foellinger Great Hall of the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts for the Winter Convocation Ceremony.

Howard Thomas, Dean of the College of Commerce, and Jesse G. Delia, dean of

LAS, each addressed the graduates and attending family and friends. Outgoing associate dean, Morgan Lynge, presided.

William R. Schnirring, Jr., president and owner of Springfield Electric Supply Company was the featured speaker.

Although Bill Schnirring and his wife Mary have visited the University of Illinois campus frequently since graduating 45 years ago, this was the first convocation ceremony they attended here since their own. So it was both a pleasure and an honor, Mr. Schnirring said, to be invited to speak on such an important occasion. He drew on his 45 years of career experience for the insights he shared with the graduates.

The first is to "commit yourself to continuous improvement." No matter where a career leads you, he said, one thing students can be assured of is change. In order to succeed in any situation "You must work to expand your knowledge and sharpen your skills. This requires effort, constant commitment, and careful utilization of time."

Second, "be certain to take time to enjoy yourself . . . . Allocate time to enjoy life with family and friends." And take part in that uniquely American activity, volunteering to assist your community, he urged.

Third, he observed that the accomplishment celebrated on this day, "graduating from one of the most prestigious universities in the world, while truly significant, was not achieved alone." So he urged students to show appreciation to all who helped them reach this goal, parents, friends, teachers, and professors, and to continue to "recognize your associates as you move up the career ladder."

Finally, he reminded, "Don't forget this great institution, the University of Illinois! Come back often and support its programs and needs."

William R. Schnirring, Jr.

A member of the class of 1950 (BS Marketing), Bill Schnirring is the president, CEO, chairman, and owner of Springfield Electric Supply Company, a family business started by his father in 1929. Today this electrical distribution business has ten branches in downstate Illinois and southern Wisconsin and over 250 employees. It is one of the 50 largest electrical distributors in the nation. The company is "Dedicated to the customer, committed to quality." The business continues to build and serve a loyal customer base, through fast, excellent service. Because people are the company's most important asset, Springfield Electric recruits its personnel carefully, then provides training, motivation, and rewards for continued success.

Michael J. Kleinkemper, a finance major from St. Louis was the student speaker.

Graduation seems a perfect time for reflection, Mike reminded the large audience of graduates, family, and friends. It's a time to recall yesterday, remark on today, and envision tomorrow.

For Mike, the credit for the formative years of yesterday, the years that brought each of the graduates to the University of Illinois, goes to "our parents, loved ones, and closest and dearest friends," whose support and nurturing provided the encouragement and motivation to succeed.

"Today, we celebrate our success!" At Illinois "we have grown and changed." These years have been broadening, enlightening, and rewarding. Learning took place in the classroom, in study sessions, and in interactions with peers.

"Tomorrow is ours." "We are a privileged group of graduates . . . . the leaders and decision-makers of tomorrow. . ., limited only by our creativity and imagination . . . . We take from this place knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the diversity of people with all kinds of backgrounds. Illinois has changed us. It has instilled in us an obligation to live up to our full potential and to use our talents to give back to our communities and society."

"We continue this adventure of learning, contributing, and sharing."


Michael J. Kleinkemper


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