Graduate Schools, Undergraduates Celebrate on Second Graduation Weekend

Graduate Schools, Undergraduates Celebrate on Second Graduation Weekend

About 1,900 Toreros, wearing gowns adorned with numerous stoles and oftentimes, caps with colorful personal artwork and expressions of accomplishment, walked across the Jenny Craig Pavilion stage during the second and final weekend of Commencement for the University of San Diego's class of 2018 on May 26 and 27.

Once the strains of "Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1" by Sir Edward Elgar began, each of the three ceremonies — the second for Graduate Schools on May 26, then May 27's morning event for College of Arts and Sciences and the afternoon for the School of Business and Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering — were underway.

2018 Grad Schools 2 Ceremony

Graduate Schools 2

For the first time at USD, the graduate school ceremonies were split up. On May 20, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences' doctoral and master's degree recipients, along with master's programs representing the Division of Professional and Continuing Education — MS Cyber Security Operations and Leadership and Law Enforcement and Public Safety Leadership — were feted.

Nearly 500 students received advanced degrees on May 26, including a combined 33 for the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing and Doctor of Nursing Practice, with the bulk being master's in business, peace studies, social innovation, nursing, cyber security engineering, dramatic arts, international relations and marine science.

The newest degree offering in the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, the MA in Social Innovation, welcomed its first graduating cohort of 18. The business school had nine students obtain a dual graduate degree in either MBA/Finance or MBA/Real Estate. A total of 175 nursing students earned a doctoral or master's degree and they were the first USD nursing students to do so since the announcement that Dr. Jane Georges has been selected as the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science's new dean. Georges, who served this past year as interim dean, takes over the permanent post on July 1.

To view the Graduate Schools 2 ceremony, visit the video replay link now.

2018 Undergrad Ceremonies

Undergraduate Ceremonies: College of Arts and Sciences and Business/Engineering

Approximately 1,400 undergraduate students comprised the class of 2018 (it includes students who finished their studies mid-year or will complete requirements by the end of summer) for the two ceremonies.

The excitement was palpable. Students excitedly filled the floor seats. Following the national anthem and invocations by Father Mike and Annette Welsh, respectively, Vice President and Provost Dr. Gail F. Baker welcomed everyone to the ceremonies and President James T. Harris shared his remarks.

Both ceremonies featured poignant and inspiring speeches by student valedictorians: Chris Harrop, an Honors Program participant who earned valedictorian status in both College of Arts and Sciences (Spanish major) and School of Business (International Business major) for the morning event and Anthony Shao, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering valedictorian for BS/BA in electrical engineering and a business finance major and mathematics minor, for the afternoon.

Harrop, the president of USD PRIDE the last 1.5 years, focused on what a Catholic education means to him and inquired what it might have meant to fellow graduates. He emphasized the importance of inclusion on a Catholic university campus such as USD and how important it will continue to be USD seeks to set the standard for what a Catholic university can be through its Envisioning 2024 strategic initiatives.

Shao, meanwhile, reminded the graduating class of the importance of remaining curious in life, much like what he and others experienced during their childhood, and to hopefully carry that idea forward in some aspects in adulthood.

The commencement speakers for the respective ceremonies offered important advice for students. Adama Iwa '05, senior director of state and local government relations for Visa, talked to the CAS crowd about being an activist, much of it due to what's still unfolding in her own life. An open letter published in the Los Angeles Times in October 2017 was led by Iwa and signed by more than 140 women on the pervasive culture of sexual harassment, discrimination and assault in politics. The letter went viral. She was on Time Magazine's cover story for its "People of the Year" as a Silence Breaker. She's president of the We Said Enough Foundation and it contributed to the #metoomovement. Iwa reminded the graduates about the importance of raising their awareness in the battle against dehumanization, to vote and to step up their activism to make the world equitable for all.

Ali Reza Arabnia '87 (MBA) is the group president and CEO of the Geico Taikisha Group, a global leader in the planning and construction of turnkey automated car painting systems. A successful businessman who has been ethical and supportive at several crucial times in his life, shared a personal story of struggle years ago when he and his wife had no place to live, no food and he was begging for a job. He implored students to face their challenges head-on and to do it while remaining positive. "Don't get discouraged, don't get negative and don't get upset about the difficulties of life."

During the CAS graduation ceremony, President Harris presented the 2017-18 Alcala Awards to two graduating seniors, English and Economics double major Theodore "Teddy" Castro and Sociology major Tiasha Rogers. The award is given to students who demonstrate the balance development throughout their time as USD students. Both students were leaders and active in the classroom, in organizations, on campus and in the community.

Both ceremonies then delivered what everyone was there for — to see their student, after having their name called, walk across the Jenny Craig Pavilion stage, received a diploma cover from President Harris, shake his hand or hug him and celebrate the realization that they've joined more than 70,000 USD alumni worldwide who have a responsibility now to go out into the world and make a difference. Why? Because the world needs Changemakers.

— Ryan T. Blystone    

To see an encore of the CAS or Business and Engineering ceremonies, please click on the respective video replay links below:

College of Arts and Sciences

School of Business/Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering

Contact Information

Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science
5998 Alcalá Park
San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 260-4548

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