Mom, daughter graduate together despite attending different UW schools

WHITEWATER, Wis (WMTV) - A mother and daughter made history at UW-Whitewater as the first to walk across the stage together, even though they attended different schools.

Mackenzie Kropidlowski graduated from UW-Whitewater and her mother, April Hershman, graduated from UW- Oshkosh. However, both commencement ceremonies were set for May 18.

“She was like, there is no question about it. I am going to skip mine and go to yours,” Kropidlowski said.

Kropidlowski said she wanted them both to experience what they worked so hard for, so she reached out to the school.

“I asked one of the deans that I know pretty well if she could walk across the stage, and he did not know the answer to that; it was a unique request,” she said.

A spokesperson for UW-Whitewater said, to the school’s knowledge, this was the first time the school had ever received this request.

Kropidlowski said her first few requests were denied, but the chancellor ultimately reconsidered.

“Selfishly today I was hoping that I could actually sit and watch her, right, because she is just an amazing person. But, we get to share it together,” Hershman said.

Hershman said she went to school on and off for around a decade to put her family first.

“I got the bug again of really wanting to excel with academics, so I figured if you really want to be a role model, you have to walk the talk,” she said.

Hershman said schooling also helped her through her battle with thyroid cancer, and she is now six years cancer free.

“When I was diagnosed, I really had to step back and say ‘this is my own journey, and I am going to have my own results,” she said.

Kropidlowski said if anyone deserved a special moment to shine, it was her mom. She said, following her four years spent at UW-Whitewater, she will work for a year, then apply to graduate school to be a school psychologist.

Hershman said her liberal arts degree with an emphasis in leadership development will help further the work she does at OshKosh Corp.