Class of 2017: A Weekend to Remember for Newest Torero Alumni

Wednesday, May 31, 2017post has photos

The University of San Diego hosted a late May weekend to remember. Graduation commencement and recognition ceremonies, heartfelt and poignant speakers, smiles, tears of joy, decorated caps and big hugs from family as students completed a major achievement in their lives, was indeed a special time. Whether it was earning a doctoral degree, an advanced graduate degree or a bachelor's degree, the pride experienced inside the Jenny Craig Pavilion was palpable for all involved.

USD 2017 Commencement Weekend

The weekend to remember began with the commissioning of 22 members of the San Diego Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps (NROTC) as Navy Ensigns and Second Lieutenant Marines underneath the comforting sight of a huge American flag.

Next were cherished celebrations for Black, Native, Filipino, Chicanx and Latinx students and their families, each with expressions of culture that provide comfort and an invitation for everyone to experience and appreciate.

There was then a record number of Graduate School celebrants — including the inaugural graduates in the Online Master of Science in Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership program — and Most Reverend Robert W. McElroy, Bishop of San Diego, shared his message on the importance of mutual accompaniment throughout his graduate commencement speech.

A beautiful Baccalaureate Mass for thousands on late Saturday afternoon was the perfect transition to a festive Sunday with two mighty undergraduate ceremonies showcasing exuberant excellence from those at the tender age of 21 to the awe-inspiring Walter Munk, PhD, a 99-year-old physical oceanographer and geophysicist, who received a honorary degree but serves as a role model with his unquenchable thirst as a life-long learner.

The Alcala Awards went to truly holistic and impactful student leaders, Jane Henderson (double major in Ethnic Studies and Spanish) and Keanu Gututala (BS/BA in Electrical Engineering). The acknowledgement of lessons learned to better prepare to move forward came from three valedictorians — College of Arts and Sciences' Emma Doolittle (History and Sociology), School of Business' Keely Palla (accountancy) and inaugural Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering's Rachel Lloyd (Industrial and Systems Engineering) — and from two highly accomplished commencement speakers, C-SPAN's Peter Kiley '85 and Starbucks' Chris Carr '86. When all was said and done, all of them forever now share one commonality: they're all part of one big Torero alumni family.

We extend hearty congratulations to the nearly 2,500 students — law, doctoral, graduate and undergraduate degree recipients — who comprise the University of San Diego's Class of 2017 and are Toreros forever!

— Ryan T. Blystone

Photo Slideshow by Nick Abadilla (first 20 photos) and Ryan T. Blystone

View replays of USD's four Commencement ceremonies, the NROTC Commissioning Ceremony and the Baccalaureate Mass