Inspiring Graduate: Cole Beckstead, B.S. Business Administration

‘I have learned a whole new method of thinking since arriving at Stout.’
December 27, 2023

Inspiring Graduate: Cole Beckstead (’23)

Cole Beckstead
Inspiring graduate Cole Beckstead / UW-Stout Athletics

Being a first-generation student, Cole Beckstead remembers dreaming of earning a university degree. He’s also always dreamed of playing professional ice hockey. He’s recently reached both of his goals. 

Beckstead transferred to UW-Stout in the fall of 2021 for his B.S. in business administration and played forward for the Blue Devil men’s hockey team.

During his junior year, he signed a contract to play professional hockey in Europe with the Drakkars du Caen, in Normandy, France. 

Beckstead continued his studies online and earned his degree from UW-Stout on Dec. 16, along with 526 graduates. 

While he continues to play for the Drakkars, he plans to explore other professional opportunities during the off-season.

How has your UW-Stout education changed you?

My Stout experience has changed me by teaching me practical knowledge that can be transferred to a variety of fields of knowledge. The polytechnic approach has taught me how to apply knowledge acquired in the classroom to problems in the contemporary world.

I have learned a whole new method of thinking since arriving at Stout.

I believe it has taught me to focus on the problem at hand and utilize the skills and knowledge I obtained to allow me to find solutions for real-time problems.


Cole Beckstead
Cole Beckstead played forward for the Blue Devils, while earning his bachelor's degree / UW-Stout Athletics

The relationships that students can build with professors stands out. The smaller class sizes allow for students to have one-on-one instruction. The professors always go above and beyond to help.

Being on the ice hockey team allowed me to step into a comfortable family environment immediately once arriving on campus.

I also joined numerous clubs, such as the Boxing Club and the Pickleball Club. This allowed me to meet new people outside of my realm. It was enjoyable to have the opportunity to escape hockey and surround myself with people of different backgrounds.

What challenges did you face in earning your degree and how did you overcome them?

The main challenge I faced while earning my degree was juggling the hectic schedule of being a student athlete. It was difficult at times to maintain a social life, athletic performance and academic performance.

Cole Beckstead
Cole Beckstead plays professional hockey with the Drakkars du Caen, in France / Cole Beckstead

When I left campus to play hockey in France, I still needed to complete three courses to successfully graduate. It presented many difficulties, such as a seven-hour time change and the daily life of a professional athlete. 

I was fortunate enough to be able to complete my degree online via customized instruction.

While my teammates enjoyed the good time on the bus after a win, I did schoolwork while looking out the window at the French Alps. I have stayed focused on what I need to do and put forth my best effort to obtain my degree.

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

I am proud of the consistency I brought forth every day. Being the first member in my family to graduate university is something I am extremely proud of.

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