Madison (WKOW) -- Changing the world and unity were the common threads from speakers at the University of Wisconsin - Madison's graduation commencement ceremonies Saturday.
Chancellor Rebecca Blank urged graduates at Camp Randall Stadium to question, "What am I doing for others?" and to consider using their knowledge to help people. "You keep asking that question, you will keep finding ways to use your skills to make the real world a little better."
During his remarks, featured speaker David Muir, anchor of "ABC World News Tonight," emphasized the idea that people have more in common - in having the same hopes and dreams - than they do differences.
Muir shared that in his career that's taken him all over the world, it's always the children who have affected him the most. He told of a time when he was reporting from the Syrian border, where child refugees -- some of them orphans -- reached out in wanting to be lifted up in his arms. The journalist says he saw two words on the wall of the orphanage that affected him deeply: "Love me."
The ABC anchor, who graduated magna cum laude from Ithaca College in New York, said that incident influenced him to remember that everyone has a voice and that everyone has a shared humanity. "Aim your cameras on people in your communities to emphasize small victories," he told the graduates.
Muir also briefly went live on Instagram with a crowd shot on his phone saying "That's the sound of Badgers about to change the world."
His crew working on the series, "Made in America," shot one segment in Madison while here and planned to shoot a second one before they leave.
Ariela Rivkin, senior class president, spoke to the students about the value of getting to know people who are different. She told the crowd when she first came to U-W Madison, she was the first Jewish person some students had ever met. That experience was returned for her when she met a girl who is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation.
She shared that that was the first time she'd ever spoken with a Native American and now she's a dear friend. "If being a Badger is about the endless process of sifting and winnowing, then encountering different people with different ideas must be a part of that process," she said.
University spokeswoman Meredith McGlone estimated Saturday's total crowd at Camp Randall to have been just under 42-thousand people. That included graduates and loved ones who came to wish them well.