The University of Cincinnati celebrated All-University Commencement during two ceremonies on April 27. The spring celebration was a few degrees cooler than the former June celebrations under academic quarters, as graduates completed the university’s first year on a semester calendar system.
Organizers were expecting record crowds and it was indeed a packed house. UC’s Office of Institutional Research reported that 6,258 students applied for graduation during spring semester.
UC President Santa J. Ono led the ceremonies. The celebration of UC’s graduates – the final spring celebration of the year – followed Ono’s formal investiture on April 19 as UC’s 28th president.
“I will leave it to other speakers in our program to offer remembrances, wisdom and advice as is also the custom at a ceremony such as this,” Ono said. “Rather than my counsel, I would instead like to voice my highest confidence in the Class of 2013 and what you will bring into the world as you pursue life after graduation. So many of you have gained on-the-job experience through internships, co-ops and service to the community. Many others of you have engaged in study abroad not just once, but multiple times. Your global awareness reaches far beyond where I stood when I was an undergraduate,” Ono said.
Sandra Heimann, vice president of American Financial Group, vice president of American Money Management and vice president of Great American Insurance Company, delivered the Commencement address.
“You are well prepared for the road ahead. More than any generation, you are free to pursue your dreams,” said Heimann. “Every one of you, I hope and expect, aspires to be a person of accomplishment and influence. Some of you have already decided what you will do in the future – some of you have not. I urge all of you to follow your heart. Search until you find something you love to do and something that you can be passionate about!”
Heimann served a nine-year term on UC’s Board of Trustees from 2003-12 and was elected chairperson for the last two years of her term. She was one of the first women in Cincinnati to become a corporate officer. Heimann received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters during the afternoon ceremony.
The Senior Class Orator for the morning Commencement Ceremony received a standing ovation from his fellow graduates. Michael Jarvis, of Lexington, Ohio, graduated today with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the Carl H. Lindner College of Business.
Jarvis was severely injured and paralyzed after a car accident in 2009. He was riding with four of his Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity brothers to a retreat in Gatlinburg, Tenn., when the accident occurred just before Thanksgiving.
“So, fellow Bearcats, my challenge to you is this: no matter what path you embark on after graduation, navigate that path with a great attitude, with the type of unbreakable spirit that has gotten you to where you are today, that has made UC what it is, and ultimately, what has made our country what it is,” Jarvis said. “We are the next great medical minds, business people, scientists, designers and musicians. Don’t let a bad break in life get you down. Instead, brush it off, stay focused, remain optimistic, and positively impact the people and environment around you. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but as the leaders of our generation, it is vital that we do so.”
The Senior Class Orator for the afternoon ceremony was Brittany Sisko, of North Royalton, Ohio, who graduated today with a bachelor's degree in communication from the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. “We’ve put in countless hours to get to this point, but this event isn’t really what we think it is,” Sisko said. “To many, it is the end. The end of college and school and studying and exams, but in reality to commence means to start. So this isn’t the end. In fact it’s just the beginning. This is what the University of Cincinnati has prepared us for – our beginning. The whole world is waiting for us.”
Senior Class President Phil Dinovo announced that fundraising continues for the 2013 Senior Class Gift – a memorial and exhibit to honor Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. Armstrong, who passed away last August, was a UC professor of aeronautical engineering from 1971-79.
Also at spring Commencement, UC faculty began a new tradition, as dozens of them served as faculty marshals to pay one last personal goodbye to students in their colleges. The faculty marshals congratulated and spoke with graduates as they checked in at the Campus Recreation Center preceding the march into Fifth Third Arena. They also sat with their college graduates at the ceremony.
UC held its Doctoral Hooding and Master’s Recognition Ceremony on April 26. The slide show features highlights from all ceremonies.