Lakeland University Blog

Lakeland announces commencement speakers

Lakeland announces commencement speakers


Lakeland announces commencement speakers

Lakeland University has named the speakers for its 162nd commencement ceremonies, set for Saturday, May 11.

  • Master’s degree ceremony, 10 a.m.: Michael Grubich, president & managing partner at LAK Group.
  • Kellett undergraduate ceremony, 1 p.m.: Natasha Torry, Sheboygan County circuit court judge, branch 2.
  • Traditional undergraduate ceremony, 4 p.m.: Jeff Frank, artistic director of First Stage.

All three speakers will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from LU.

With more than 25 years of global leadership experience, Grubich is a seasoned human resources executive. He provides strategic leadership regarding all talent solutions and initiatives which enhance the performance of organizations, individuals, teams and leaders.

Throughout his career, Grubich served in several global thought and operational leadership roles. As part of his responsibilities, he led a variety of human resources functions, including talent management, leadership development, coaching, culture shaping, organization design & development, talent acquisition, succession management, learning & development, assessment change management, strategic planning, and engagement practices.

Prior to joining LAK Group, he was the senior vice president, talent & organization development for Aurora Health Care, and prior to that he served in multiple leadership roles for global organizations, including global human resources VP for CNH Industrial; global director, talent & diversity for Kohler Co. Additionally, he was the director, human resources retail division and the corporate director of training & development at Jockey International, Inc. in Kenosha, Wis.

Author of the 2021 book “Leadership On Purpose,” Grubich is involved in the broader community, serving as the current chairman of the board of directors for Special Olympics Wisconsin and was recently the board chair for Catholic Memorial High School in Waukesha, Wis. He is an adjunct faculty member at Marquette University’s College of Business Administration and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee healthcare administration master’s degree program.

Grubich has a bachelor of science degree from Northern Illinois University and a master’s degree in business administration from Lake Forest Graduate School of Business.

Torry was elected to the Sheboygan County Circuit Court Branch 2 on April 4, 2023, the same day that she was elected to her third term as the Sheboygan Area Municipal Court Judge. Torry previously practiced as a staff attorney at Legal Action of Wisconsin where she provided legal representation and advice to low-income persons in the areas of housing, family, unemployment and employment law.

She owned and operated a solo private practice for seven years, served as Sheboygan County assistant corporation counsel for 11 years and practiced at the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee and Legal Services of Northeastern Wisconsin.

Torry is an active volunteer in the legal community and the greater community. She has served on the State Bar of Wisconsin Family Law Section Board and served on the Local Bar Relations Committee. She also sat on the Office of Lawyer Regulation District 4 Committee for seven years, four of them as chair. She was appointed by Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Shirley Abrahamson to the Selections Committee and was Sheboygan County Bar Association president.

She is on the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Sheboygan County and the John Michael Kohler Arts Center. She previously served on the board of CASA of East Central Wisconsin. She received the 2021 Insight Publications Women of Influence Award for the business owner category. In 2022, she became a Lifetime Fellow of the Wisconsin Law Foundation.

Torry graduated from the University of Wisconsin law school in 2001.There she was a Knapp Fellowship recipient and a member of the Law Review. She received a bachelor’s in politics in government from Ripon College in 1998 after attending Bay View High School in Milwaukee, Wis.

Currently the artistic director of First Stage, the third largest professional Theater for Young Audiences in the nation, Frank is recognized as one of the top directors in the field with an expertise in developing new work for the TYA field.

He has directed nearly 100 productions including Thornton Wilder’s “Childhood,” which was presented in London and again in Moscow as part of an international festival of children’s theater. First Stage has developed numerous new plays during his tenure including TYA versions of “The Wiz,” “Peter Pan and Wendy,” and “Big, the Musical,” In addition to presiding over the development of adaptations of “The Thief Lord,” “Gossamer,” “Gathering Blue,” “Tom Sawyer” and “Swiss Family Robinson,” along with a commitment to new, original plays.

Harry Cherkinian, Chicago Theater Beat/Shepherd Express, proclaimed; “Director Jeff Frank, who also serves as First Stage’s Artistic Director, continues to take Milwaukee’s children’s theater company to new levels with a production that entertains, educates and showcases talent in front of—and behind—the spotlights.”

Having served as First Stage’s Education and Academy Director from 1996-2003, Frank remains committed to the power of theater to transform lives. First Stage’s theater-in-education programs serve over 20,000 students with a focus on literacy and character education. The nationally recognized Theater Academy focuses on teaching life skills through stage skills while fostering the next generation of theater artists and theater goers.

He received a bachelor of fine arts in theater from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and a master of fine arts in child drama from the University of Utah.

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