Thelma A. Sias

Dwyane Wade

Commencement Sunday, May 22, 2022

Honorary Degree: Doctor of Humane Letters
Conferred on Thelma A Sias.

Thelma Sias is the Founder and President of The Sias Group, which provides political and leadership consulting expertise. A successful and sought-after professional speaker known for her passion for people, Sias’ says her speeches are extensions of her life and work experiences. She uses her speaking opportunities to develop the careers and skills of a diverse group of professionals.

Prior to retiring in 2017, Sias served as vice president of local affairs for We Energies. In this role, 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 several civic and community boards, including the African American Women’s Project, United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, the Boys & 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 in 2020. Sias was a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Milwaukee Business Journal in 2018. In 2017, she was named to The HistoryMakers as one of their BusinessMakers for the Library of
Congress. The HistoryMakers, a 501(c)3 , was established to address the lack of documentation and preserve African American historical records. She was later honored by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation with the Doug Jansson Leadership Award. She received the Civic Leaders Award by the Milwaukee Fellowship Open and featured in the Jewish Museum Milwaukee Allied in the Fight exhibit. She was named to Savoy magazine’s 2016 list of Top Influential Women in Corporate America and was a Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 under 40 Hall of Fame honoree.

Sias was raised on a farm in Mayersville, Mississippi, by her parents, the late Roosevelt and Pauline Sias. They fought for the right to vote and for other opportunities for Thelma and her siblings. As a result of her parents’ example, Sias long supported local, state, and national candidates who advocated for racial and social justice by working on political campaigns. She is proud of serving as a delegate that resulted in the nomination of the first African American President, Barack Obama.

Because of her commitment to racial and social justice and her dedication to making our Milwaukee community a better place, President Lovell, I hereby recommend Thelma A. Sias for the Marquette University degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa.