Popular Searches

Congratulations, Class of 2024! We can’t wait to celebrate you this week.

The Commencement Ceremony will be held Sunday, May 12, 2024, at 1 p.m. We welcome you to campus on Saturday to participate in the traditional Ripon College Commencement Weekend activities. Be sure to explore the full schedule of events below. 

Are you the guest of a graduate or a faculty/staff member planning to attend Commencement Weekend 2024? Please register for events by accessing the registration portal below. Note, you will be taken to another site. 

If you are a member of the Class of 2024 participating in Commencement, you do not need to complete this form. If you want to confirm your status for Commencement, please contact the Office of the Registrar.

Can’t attend the event in person? The Commencement Ceremony will be livestreamed on the Ripon College YouTube Channel.

Commencement 2024 Theme: Breaking Barriers – Creating a Legacy

At Ripon College, our personalized approach has the power to ignite each student’s greatest
potential. We honor every person as worthy of their own success, so our graduates may become responsible leaders and agents of change who value their roles in their immediate and extended communities. We know that trying new things is an opportunity for growth and self-discovery, and our campus community is eager and prepared to live an examined life. Our original, collaborative experiences, lead to new insights and discoveries that have a positive impact on all of us. In turn, our students unearth what drives their own unique vision of the future.


Our keynote speaker will be Jason Felts, a serial entrepreneur, Fortune 500 brand advisor, philanthropist, film producer and founding CEO of VIRGIN PRODUCED. As co-founder and CEO of VIRGIN PRODUCED, the media arm of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, Felts oversaw all aspects of the entertainment division including all film, television, music festival and brand positioning for the globally respected lifestyle brand. Felts produced all of Virgin’s content including film, television and branded entertainment. Notable projects included “Limitless,” “Bad Moms,” “That Awkward Moment,” “Immortals,” “Movie 43,” “The Impossible,” “21 & Over” and “Jobs.” While simultaneously serving in a dual role as Chief Brand Officer, Felts also oversaw the brand’s large-scale festival experiences. When Felts was appointed CEO in 2009 at 32, it made him the second youngest CEO in the history of Virgin behind Sir Richard Branson.

He retired from the entertainment industry at age 45 and now focuses the majority of his time on philanthropic efforts toward social responsibility, equality and conservation, as well as strategic brand advisory to purpose-focused startups and Fortune 500 corporations.

You can learn more about Jason Felts here.


We will also celebrate Dena Willmore ’67 retired partner and senior vice president of Wellington Management Company with an honorary degree.

After graduating with a degree in philosophy from Ripon, Willmore started her career as a secretary at two different private equity firms. As a secretary to the precursor of Wellington Management, an investment management firm, Willmore worked long hours, gaining the trust of her bosses and slowly started advancing through the company despite being female. When Willmore was selected to be part of the initial partnership, she was the youngest employee and only woman in the partnership. At Wellington, she successfully advocated for equity and balance in the workplace in terms of gender and race. She also was instrumental in forming the Wellington Management Company Charitable Fund, which supports programs to improve educational opportunities for disadvantaged youths.

Since retiring at the age of 50, Willmore has devoted herself to community service work, including serving as Ripon College Trustee. Dena served on the board for more than 22 years and served as the Chair from 2003-2009. She also provided the initial support for the expansion and renovation of Willmore Center.

You can learn more about Dena here.

FOUNDERS’ DAY AWARD RECIPIENT: The Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area

Children in front of Boys & Girls Club renderingThe Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area will be the 2024 recipient of Ripon College’s Founders’ Day Award. The formal presentation of the award will be at the 159th Commencement ceremony May 12. Jason Presto, an alumnus of the Ripon College Class of 2004 and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Tri-County Area, will accept the award on behalf of the organization.

The Founders’ Day Award honors an individual or organization in the greater Ripon community who exemplifies the ideals of the founders of Ripon College and who has contributed above and beyond to the mission of the school. The Boys & Girls Club of the Tri-County Area works to improve the lives of children and families through youth development services and family outreach support. Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2022, it began in Berlin and has expanded to a Green Lake site and now will expand again with a Ripon site.

You can learn more about the Boys and Girls Club of the Tri-County Area here.

TRANSPORTATION: For families and guests visiting Ripon, the College is three hours north of Chicago, and served by airports in Milwaukee (a two-hour drive from Ripon), Madison (a 1.5 hour drive), and Appleton (a 45 minute drive). Milwaukee offers the most frequent service. From the Milwaukee, Chicago and Appleton airports guests may choose to rent a car. Ripon is served by taxi to and from the Appleton airport.

LODGING: Commencement Weekend attracts many out of town guests to campus, so you are encouraged to make your lodging reservations early. There are several lodging options available in and around the City of Ripon. Please visit ripon.edu/lodging for more information.

Any questions you may have can be directed to the Office of Advancement at [email protected] or 920.748.8126, or visit the FAQ page.

Commencement Weekend 2024 Schedule

Friday, May 10

1 p.m.
Senior Class Photo – Harwood Memorial Union Steps (Rain site: Bear Auditorium)
1:30-3 p.m.Senior Graduation RehearsalNEW LOCATION – Willmore Field House
6 – 9 p.m.Senior Banquet – Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union

Saturday, May 11

7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.Common Grounds: “We Proudly Brew Starbucks” Coffee Shop
– Lower Level, Pickard Commons
8 a.m. – 4 p.m.Ripon College Senior Art Exhibit – Caestecker Gallery, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts
10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.Intercultural Convocation – Demmer Recital Hall, C.J. Rodman Center for the Arts
A collaborative effort between Ripon College and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, this ceremony honors diversity and celebrates cultural traditions by creating a student-centered inclusive space to celebrate the graduation of multicultural students. It is accessible to all students, their family members and the general public. Refreshments will be provided.

The following department receptions on Saturday are open to all graduates, families, faculty, staff and special guests:

1 – 4 p.m.Departmental Receptions
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Communication Home of Dr. Jody M. Roy and Mr. Jon Roy, 631 E. Jackson St
1:00 – 2:30 p.m. Psychology and Psychobiology/Neuroscience Frazen Center, Lane Library
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Biology, Chemistry-Biology, Environmental Studies North Reading Room, Lane Library
1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Chemistry, Chemistry-Biology, and Physics Home of Dr. Colleen M. Byron and Dr. Gary S. Rodman, 908 Nordane Avenue
1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Political Science, National Security, and Law & Society Faculty Lounge, East Hall
1:30 – 3:30 p.m. Music and Theatre Knuth Brewing company, 230 Watson Street, Downtown Ripon
2:00 – 3:00 p.m. Economics and Business Management College Museum, First Floor, West Hall
2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Educational Studies Center for Career and Professional Development, Lower Level, Pickard Commons
3 – 5 p.m.Merch Store Open – Campus Apartments
4 – 5:30 p.m.President’s Reception with Complimentary Champagne Toast – Great Hall, Harwood Memorial Union
All graduates, their families, faculty members and staff are invited and encouraged to attend. President Folse will provide brief remarks at 4:30 p.m. prior to a celebratory champagne toast.
8 – 9 p.m.Baccalaureate Service – First Congregational Church, 220 Ransom Street
An interfaith service featuring Class of 2024 speakers, performers, and artists.

Sunday, May 12

7:30 a.m. – 2 p.m.Common Grounds: “We Proudly Brew Starbucks” Coffee Shop – Lower Level, Pickard Commons
9 – 11 a.mMerch Store Open – Campus Apartments
9:15 a.m.Phi Beta Kappa Induction – Kresge Little Theatre, East Hall
10 a.m.Senior Brunch and Forum – S.N. Pickard Commons – Brunch served until 10:30 a.m. for graduates, families, friends, trustees, faculty, staff & special guests with Forum from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
A discussion featuring the honorary degree recipients and other special guests, moderated by President Folse.
12:15 p.m.Commencement Procession Assembly – Students will assemble near Todd Wehr Hall; Faculty near Lane Library; Trustees, Senior Administrators & Platform party in front of Smith Hall.
(In case of inclement weather, assembly will be held in Keipe Gymnasium, Willmore Center)
1 p.m.Commencement Ceremony – Harwood Memorial Union Lawn
Formal ceremony to honor the Class of 2024 featuring remarks from President Folse and other special guests including this year’s Senior Class Commencement speaker.
(In case of inclement weather, to be held in the Field House, Willmore Center)
Following CeremonyReception – Smith Hall Lawn (In case of inclement weather, to be held in the Messitte Atrium, Willmore Center)