Patrick Griffith has always been active. The 2015 UWL winter graduate played football, lacrosse and hockey in high school before transitioning over to endurance events, including triathlons.
“I set a goal of doing an Ironman before graduating and finished one last fall,” said Griffith.
He’s also pretty smart, having done enough to earn his degree in exercise sports science in three and a half years. “I only came in with three AP credits,” he explains. “I just made sure I took enough credits every semester, including 20 this fall.”
He will be one of 654 students walking across the stage Sunday, Dec. 20 at UWL’s Winter Commencement Ceremony. The event starts at 11 a.m. at the La Crosse Center.
Griffith, a Maple Grove, Minnesota native, knew he would be on this stage while he was in high school. “My mom and I toured 20 different schools, but I only applied to UW-La Crosse,” he says. “I felt at home when I visited here with the outdoor community and the awesome programs in the medical fields. I have no doubts, no regrets. I have loved it ever since coming here.”
Griffith took full advantage of the La Crosse experience. He served as a Vanguard, a peer health educator, a writer for The Racquet and participated in a variety of clubs.
“It’s a great opportunity to learn from students and others in the community, especially outside your scope of field,” he said. “You can get that free knowledge.”
He was also part of a UWL social media campaign in May encouraging students to de-stress during finals.
“Patrick models consistency, commitment and dependability and he takes initiative to live a well-balanced life,” says Kate Noelke, UWL’s Wellness Coordinator. “I feel extremely fortunate to have had Patrick’s energy and leadership contribute to the Wellness Resource Center. He will be dearly missed.”
After graduation, Griffith plans to become a certified personal trainer to get experience before going to grad school for physical therapy, which may bring him back to UWL.
Griffith is still exploring dream careers, including becoming a traveling physical therapist in and out of the U.S. or getting involved in endurance focused physical therapy.
“My piece of advice for anyone – UWL student or not – is put yourself in uncomfortable situations,” he says. “Getting out of my comfort zone is where I learned some of the best stuff.”