MILWAUKEE — Dwyane Wade, a three-time NBA champion, Olympic gold medalist and one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history who led Marquette to the Final Four in 2003, will serve as Marquette University’s undergraduate Commencement speaker on Sunday, May 22, at 9 a.m. Thelma A. Sias, former vice president for local affairs at We Energies, will speak at the Graduate School and Graduate School of Management ceremony at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 22. As part of the university’s Commencement ceremonies, Wade and Sias will both receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees.
“Through his voice and his actions, Dwyane Wade has done what Marquette University asks of all of its students and alumni: to Be The Difference,” Marquette President Michael R. Lovell said. “He is a credit to the transformational experience our university offers its students and, in turn, has been a great source of excitement and pride to the Marquette community. We are delighted to once again welcome Dwyane back to Milwaukee to deliver an inspiring address and offer an appropriately thrilling send-off to our graduates.”
Wade attended Marquette from 2000-03 and was selected No. 5 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft months after leading the Marquette Men’s Basketball Team to the NCAA Tournament Final Four. He played the bulk of his career with the Miami Heat, winning league championships in 2006, 2012 and 2013. He was named NBA Finals MVP in 2006, MVP of the 2010 NBA All-Star Game, and was chosen as one of the league’s 75 Greatest Players in NBA history in conjunction with the league’s 75th anniversary celebration in 2021. He also represented the United States twice at the Olympic Games, winning a gold medal in Beijing in 2008.
Wade is a businessman with partnerships including Li-Ning, MISSION, Budweiser’s Bud Zero, Stance, BallerTV, Wade Cellars, Mars Reel, 800° Woodfired Kitchen, and D. Wade Burgers. He recently joined the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake ownership groups. Through his partnership with WarnerMedia, he serves as a regular analyst for TNT’s Tuesday night NBA studio coverage and is a creative director for Bleacher Report. Wade executive produces and hosts the award-winning British game show reboot of “The Cube” on TBS. He is a board of trustee member for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and recently joined the UC Davis Executive Leadership Board for the department of Viticulture and Enology to support their efforts in bringing more diversity to the wine industry. Wade and Gabrielle Union recently launched Proudly, a sustainable baby care brand made specifically for babies and children of color, and together they have partnered with Janie and Jack on a Kaavia James Union-Wade collection. Founder of 59th & Prairie Entertainment, he is an executive producer of “D. Wade: Life Unexpected,” the Sports Emmy–nominated documentary “Shot in the Dark,” the Oscar-winning animated short “Hair Love,” and “Legacy: In The Shadow of Greatness.” He is the New York Times bestselling author of “A Father First,” co-authored the New York Times bestselling children’s book “Shady Baby,” and recently released his photographic memoir “DWYANE.” Wade cofounded the Social Change Fund United to invest in and support organizations focused on empowering communities of color and advocating for the human rights of all Black lives. The Wade Family Foundation provides relief to marginalized communities in need. Wade remains committed to using his platform to help advance racial justice and LGBTQ equality.
Wade’s support of Marquette University includes the Boys and Girls Clubs Youth of the Year program and Marquette’s Hartman Literacy and Learning Center where he established the Live to Dream Summer Reading Program, which supports Milwaukee’s schoolchildren by helping them maintain or improve their reading skills over the summer.
Wade left Marquette as one of its most decorated athletes. He helped lead Marquette back to the Final Four in 2003 for the first time since its 1977 National Championship season by registering only the third triple-double in school history. His 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists led Marquette past No. 1-overall seed Kentucky in the Elite Eight. In 2003, he was a consensus first-team All-American and was named both the Conference USA Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
Wade was inducted into the Marquette M Club Hall of Fame in 2009 and was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 2019.
Sias is currently the founder and CEO of The Sias Group, which provides political and leadership consulting expertise. A retired corporate executive, community advocate and activist, and professional speaker, Sias is devoted to mentoring and inspiring young leaders, building opportunities for executive women’s leadership, driving political engagement, and advancing diversity in the community.
Prior to her retirement in 2017, Sias served as vice president of local affairs at We Energies, where she was responsible for building and enhancing long-term relationships with Milwaukee community leaders and the government to garner support and approval for the utility’s critical corporate initiatives. In addition, she has held numerous leadership roles in the greater Milwaukee community and serves as a key connector to business, community and political leaders. Sias serves on a number of civic and community boards, including founding member of the African American Women’s Project, United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee, Sojourner Family Peace Center and Cardinal Stritch University.
For her public service, professional excellence and commitment to her community, Sias has received multiple awards and recognitions. She was named United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s Linda T. Mellowes Woman Leader of the Year; she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Milwaukee Business Journal; and, in 2017, she was named to The HistoryMakers as one of their BusinessMakers for the Library of Congress. The HistoryMakers is a national non-profit research and educational institution committed to preserving and making widely accessible the untold personal stories of both well-known and unsung African Americans. In addition, Sias was named a 2022 Milwaukee Business Journal Power Broker. She is a proud graduate of a Historically Black College or University, Clark Atlanta University.
Sias is one of 11 children born and raised by her parents, the late Roosevelt and Pauline Sias, of Mayersville, Mississippi. Her siblings have been her strength and encouragement throughout her life. Sias is honored to be married to Mr. Stephen P. Adams, the love of her life and her greatest cheerleader. They have been married for 37 years.
Marquette University will host two Commencement ceremonies — one for undergraduate students and one for Graduate School and Graduate School of Management students — on Sunday, May 22, at Summerfest’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater. The undergraduate ceremony will begin at 9 a.m.; the Graduate School and Graduate School of Management ceremony will start at 2 p.m. Both ceremonies will be livestreamed via the Commencement 2022 website.
Media interested in attending either ceremony need to contact Kevin Conway, associate director of university communication, at [email protected]. Interview requests for Commencement speakers should be made in advance and will be coordinated closer to the date of the event if there is availability.