UW-Madison announces Charlie Berens as winter commencement speaker

“Holy smokes!” UW-Madison announced Charlie Berens as their winter commencement speaker...
“Holy smokes!” UW-Madison announced Charlie Berens as their winter commencement speaker Wednesday afternoon.(Coronado PAC)
Published: Oct. 26, 2022 at 7:33 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - “Holy smokes!” UW-Madison announced Charlie Berens as their winter commencement speaker Wednesday afternoon.

Berens, a UW-Madison alum, is a New York Times best-selling author, an Emmy-winning journalist, a popular podcast host and the creator of the “Manitowoc Minute.”

Berens earned a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in journalism and geography in 2009. The “keep ‘er movin’” comedian was chosen to be the commencement speaker by the senior class officers in consultation with the Chancellor’s Office.

“Charlie Berens is a Wisconsin cultural ambassador for all corners of the state,” senior class president Liam McLean said. “It is fitting to have him speak to our winter commencement graduates as his reach and our university grow in scope and status.”

Berens grew up in suburban Milwaukee and has been featured on Comedy Central, Fox, CBS, Funny or Die, TBS, MTV News and other outlets. His social platforms have over 6.5 million followers, on which he coined phrases like “geez Louise” and “UFF DA”.

“As someone new to Wisconsin, I’ve learned a lot from Charlie, like the importance of getting the buttered rye bread with the Friday night fish fry and of watching out for deer on the roads,” Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said. “He’s a great comedian, but much more — an entrepreneur, a business owner, a skilled interviewer, a proud Badger. I’m delighted he will be offering his wisdom to our graduates.”

Berens started hosting weekly comedic online news shows for “Manitowoc Minute” in 2017. He now creates Midwest-focused sketch comedy videos for his social media platforms. He has traveled the country on three sold out stand-up comedy tours. “The Midwest Survival Guide” instantly became a New York Times bestseller when Berens released it in November 2021.

“Hey Badgers, I want to thank you so much for inviting me to be your commencement speaker at winter commencement on Dec. 18,” Berens says. “I’ll see you there. Until then, keep ‘er movin’.”

The 2022 winter commencement ceremony will be held at the Kohl Center at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 18.

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