Commencement 2024: Meet some of this spring’s notable graduates

The University of Wisconsin–Madison has no shortage of amazing students. Some have changed lives with their research or improved communities through their public service. Others have scaled the academic heights, made an impressive mid-life career change, or overcome daunting odds to finish a degree. In advance of spring commencement May 10-11, here’s a look at how just a few of these notable graduates made their mark. 

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Note: Erin Vranas is a Discovery to Product (D2P) innovator:

Restaurateur adds ‘Badger alum’ to her resumé

Erin Vranas

For many UW–Madison students, eating at the iconic Parthenon Gyros on State Street is a rite of passage. Now the owner is a Badger, too. Erin Vranas is graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in management after taking a long break to embark on her entrepreneurial journey. She started various businesses and eventually acquired the Madison restaurant before returning to UW–Madison to complete her degree. While balancing her studies with her responsibilities as a restaurateur, Vranas also launched a startup consumer packaged goods company, served as a director on the Wisconsin Restaurant Association Board, volunteered for multiple organizations, and even completed her yoga teacher training certification. She also has the distinction of being one of the first graduates of UW–Madison Online.