UC to celebrate record fall commencement

UC will play host to fall grads at Fifth Third Arena

The University of Cincinnati will celebrate fall commencement, recognizing a record number of graduates at 10 a.m. Friday in Fifth Third Arena.

UC will honor a record 2,537 fall graduates, according to preliminary numbers compiled by UC’s Office of Institutional Research. They will earn a near-record 2,547 degrees, surpassed only by the fall Class of 2017. (Some graduates earn more than one degree simultaneously.)

The spring and summer ceremonies also set new records for UC this year.

Doors at Fifth Third Arena open at 8:30 a.m. Per UC’s security policy, guests may bring only clear plastic bags into the arena. Tickets are required for all guests. The ceremony will be live-streamed here at UC's Commencement website.

The University of Cincinnati celebrates its Spring 2022 Commencement Ceremony. Doctoral and Masters Ceremony.

UC will honor a record number of graduates at its fall commencement at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

About the fall class of 2022

UC will award 236 associate degrees, 1,168 bachelor’s degrees, 1,016 master’s degrees and 124 doctoral degrees at fall commencement. This fall, 49% of degrees awarded are in the fields of science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.

The youngest grad, earning a bachelor’s degree, is 18. The oldest, 69, is earning a master’s degree. The average graduate is 28 including all degrees. Women grads outnumber men almost 3 to 2.

Among fall grads are 73 that graduated from Cincinnati Public Schools. And 14% of fall grads are first-generation college students. Two grads will celebrate their birthday Friday.

While more than half of graduates are from Ohio, UC’s fall class has a broad reach across 47 states. About 21% of UC’s fall class hail from another country. UC’s fall grads represent 45 countries across five continents.

The wedding singer finally gets married! I’ll be singing at my own graduation.

Victoria Propitkin, 2022 graduate of CCM, A&S

UC was featured this year on Amazon Prime Video’s College Tour. UC expanded its Student Wellness Center and saw the topping off for the new Clifton Court Hall, set to open next year. UC opened its new Digital Futures building across from the 1819 Innovation Hub and welcomed students to the new home of the UC College of Law.

After UC’s football team went 9-0 before losing to Alabama in the College Football Playoffs nearly one year ago, cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner went on to get picked fourth in the NFL draft, a school record, among nine Bearcats selected, also a record.

Eniayho Olawoye wears her white gown and a stethoscope.

UC College of Nursing graduate Eniayo Olawoye is pursuing a career in pediatric nursing. Photo/Provided

Inspiring through example

How do you inspire graduates on the biggest day of their academic lives?

UC College of Nursing graduate Eniayo Olawoye has that responsibility as UC’s student speaker at fall commencement. She earned a master’s degree through UC’s Accelerated Direct-Entry Master of Nursing program and will become a registered nurse after taking her board exams.

Now she plans to pursue a career in pediatric nursing.

“I’m so excited,” Olawoye said. “My entire family is coming from Silver Spring, Maryland. That will be fun. I was the first to move out of state to go to school. It’s been an adjustment.”

Eniayo Olawoye stands at a railing overlooking the water.

UC College of Nursing graduate Eniayo Olawoye will give the student address during UC's 2022 fall commencement. Photo/Provided

Olawoye said she came to UC because of the College of Nursing’s emphasis on developing leadership skills. The college’s motto: “UC nurses. We see leaders.”

“My cousin went to UC as an undergrad and was always saying what an amazing experience she had,” Olawoye said. “I knew I wanted to go into leadership in my career. It felt like the perfect fit. I had such amazing professors. They’re so passionate about nursing.”

Olawoye said UC’s top-rated co-op program gave her practical experience while doing clinical rotations at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and UC Health. This experience helped her land a job in the competitive field of pediatrics. She will work in the pediatric intensive care unit at Children’s.

Her speech will touch on leadership and the supportive community that UC students create when they come to Cincinnati.

Olawoye said she was nervous about returning to school years after she earned a bachelor’s degree in Maryland.

“I always get emotional when I think about my journey. I was at a place where I wasn’t sure if I could come back to school. Life happens,” she said. “But the great thing about UC is you get the support to pursue your dreams. Now I’m finally starting my career. I finally made it.”

Olawoye said she is optimistic about the future. And if she had any advice to others contemplating a return to school, she says do it.

“Never give up on yourself,” she said.

Victoria Popritkin raises her finger to the sky while singing the UC Alma Mater.

UC College-Conservatory of Music voice major Victoria Popritkin performs during UC's virtual commencement during the COVID-19 pandemic. Popritkin also earned a bachelor's degree in neuroscience from UC's College of Arts and Sciences. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand

Passion for art and science

Graduate Victoria Popritkin has embraced both art and science by earning dual bachelor's degrees in voice at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music and neuroscience in UC’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The singer will perform at commencement as she has for nine previous UC commencement ceremonies. Afterward, she will take the stage herself to be acknowledged with her classmates as a Bearcat grad.

“The wedding singer finally gets married! I’ll be singing at my own graduation,” she said.

Victoria Popritkin gives a thumbs up in a lab while masked, gowned and gloved.

UC graduate Victoria Popritkin is earning dual degrees in voice and neurosicence. Photo/Provided

Popritkin said CCM tradition calls for graduates to pass the mantle to another first-year singer to perform at subsequent commencements.

“It’s a tradition among voice majors. I was fortunate there was a UC senior who saw potential in me,” she said.

Popritkin has performed in both operas and theatrical shows at UC. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t sing.

“Looking back, there’s a picture of me at 4 singing. I sang with my family a lot. I played the piano and I was in musical theater and choir before college,” she said. “I watched my first opera at 16 and started crying before anyone even started singing. So I knew there was something there.”

But Popritkin also has a passion for science. She was inspired by her mentor, UC biology professor Ilya Vilinsky.

“We had the same piano teacher by coincidence,” Popritkin said. “He’s been a big supporter of people exploring what neuroscience means to them. He always leads with more questions than answers.”

Popritkin finds a lot of common ground in her singing and scientific pursuits.

“My lab manager says the most important rule in science is being brave enough to say I don’t know that,” Popritkin said. “And I think that applies to singing, too.”

Her advice to first-year students: “Stay focused and stick to your vision. But be open to new things,” she said.

“You might be surprised.”

Become a Bearcat

Whether you’re a first-generation student or from a family of Bearcats, UC is proud to support you at every step along your journey. We want to make sure you succeed — and feel right at home.

Apply to UC today.

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