Thousands will mix sadness with excitement this weekend as they turn out for graduation day at the UW Madison.
Graduates of the College of Letters and Science listened as Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin delivered a speech Saturday morning.
Baldwin is an alum of the UW Madison Law School and the first woman from Wisconsin ever to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives.
She told students to take a moment to appreciate their accomplishments.
On average, 5,000 students graduate each spring from the UW Madison.
One student says it is sad, but she's excited to move onto other things.
"I'm gonna take a year off and work and then I'm gonna go to grad school," Nadja Hansen.
Graduation ceremonies began Friday and run through Sunday.
College graduates and their families aren't the only ones celebrating the weekend's commencement events.
Area businesses, such as the Madison Marriott West in Middleton, say they count on a graduation business boost every year. The hotel's general manager says its location appeals to people who want to avoid Madison traffic by boarding on the west side. Kevin Smith says, "We do very well in terms of a lot of parents will come in to see their kids. It's just really a great weekend for the whole community. This whole area and the surrounding areas of Madison really do get quite a bit of impact from this weekend."
Meanwhile, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, says the University as a whole, represents a stable, well–paying employer in local economy.
He explains the campus' special events provide an opportunity to show–off the city. "We have people coming from all over the state, all over the country—really all over the world, to see their sons and daughters—in some cases—their moms and dads—graduating from the University, so it's an exciting time to be in the city, and it's good for us economically, too."
Area restaurants say they experienced a sharp increase in the number of group reservations during graduation weekend.