UC grads celebrate while looking to future
UC recognizes more than 2,500 graduates at fall commencement
The University of Cincinnati on Friday celebrated the fall class of 2023, recognizing more than 2,500 graduates during commencement at Fifth Third Arena.
Ceremony speakers addressed the theme of change as graduates close one important chapter of their lives and look forward to new beginnings.
“What was it that changed you here?” UC President Neville Pinto asked in his commencement address.
Pinto said perhaps it was living in a new place. Or maybe it was witnessing international events or tragedies or living amid a global pandemic. Or maybe it was something more personal, he said.
“Maybe it was your roommate or classmate, now a close friend, who grew up in a very different world,” Pinto said. “The bottom line is we’re all different. And getting to know different people changes your outlook. It widens your world.”
Pinto encouraged grads to be agents of change for the better.
“I can’t wait to see how you do that,” he said.
Miss the ceremony? Watch it online.
UC Board of Trustees Chairman Phil Collins congratulated the graduates and the faculty who helped them reach their academic goals.
He recalled his own graduation from UC nearly 35 years ago when he delivered the student address to his classmates at Fifth Third Arena.
He recited a line from his speech to his classmates: “We made lifelong friends and memories during our time here. As the students of today follow the footsteps of UC graduates of the past to become the leaders of tomorrow, we’ll reflect often on our experiences here and draw upon them,” Collins said.
“Thirty-five years later, I now have a new appreciation for how true those words are to me and how I believe they will be for you.”
Our board views commencement as the most important day in the life of the university.
Phil Collins, UC Board of Trustees Chairman
“Stay close to the friends you make,” Collins said. “I have come to learn there is something very special about the friends you make in college. They are a lifelong gift.”
And he welcomed the grads to the growing family of UC alumni 340,000 strong.
“Our board views commencement as the most important day in the life of the university,” Collins said. “Congratulations and go Bearcats!”
Sharing with family
Families like those of UC graduate Jordan Young gathered from across the country to help them mark the occasion. Young’s mom and dad, grandmother and grandfather, sisters and cousins traveled from Miami and Tampa to watch him accept his diploma on stage in Cincinnati.
Young was a standout football player as a top-30 national cornerback recruit who transferred to UC.
“It’s a very proud day for us,” his mom, Lesley Harris-Young, said. “He’s a great kid.”
Young will remain at UC to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice while he continues his football career, his mom said.
“It’s a lot of work to manage, both on and off the field. But to do it at the top of his class is great,” she said.
The family of Lindner College of Business graduate Sean Dippold waited for him in the warm sun next to the Oscar Robertson statue outside Fifth Third Arena. As the youngest, Dippold was the last of three children to graduate, with a degree in information systems, his father, Dave Dippold, said.
As a father, it was a proud day, he said.
“We look forward to him taking the next steps in his life,” he said.
Feeling at home
In her student address, Lindner College of Business graduate Leah Wolff reminded her classmates that they have UC family that will follow them the rest of their days.
Wolff, a double major in finance and international business, recalled how she was getting homesick while studying abroad in Germany during her time at UC. But then she met a UC student and another and another. Talking to them made her feel right at home again.
Wolff said she was extremely shy when she arrived at UC five years ago. But she gained a lot of confidence through her work, travel and school experiences. She had four internships through UC’s top-ranked co-op program.
“UC made me confident enough to travel the world,” she said. “I’m so happy with my personal development. UC offers you chances to branch out and surround yourself with people who can introduce you to new things. That’s been a big blessing for me.”
About the fall class of 2023
UC awarded 2,515 degrees, including 196 associate degrees, 1,141 bachelor’s degrees, 1,044 master’s degrees and 132 doctoral degrees along with two professional certificates, according to preliminary numbers from UC’s Office of Institutional Research. (Some students earn multiple degrees.)
This semester UC had the highest percentage of out-of-state students since 2016. And 14% of grads are first-generation college students.
UC has also seen an increase in the number of students earning advanced degrees. UC will celebrate the most students earning master’s and doctoral degrees since the fall of 2016. Many of these come from UC’s College of Education, Criminal Justice, and Human Services, which has seen a surge in information technology majors.
Fall graduates hail from every state but Maine and New Hampshire and 30 countries across five continents.
About 3% of graduates this fall are military veterans or dependents of veterans. And 66 students this fall are graduates of Cincinnati Public Schools.
A time to remember
Graduates in the class of 2023 celebrated Bearcat victories and saw UC’s footprint expand in both new programs and new facilities.
In the spring, UC cut the ribbon on its new $93 million Clifton Court Hall, which features classrooms, offices and labs serving departments in three colleges, particularly the College of Arts and Sciences. Last year, UC celebrated its new Digital Futures building as a collaborative research hub for science and industry. Calhoun Hall reopened this year after an $80 million renovation. And UC unveiled a new Esports Innovation Lab in the 1819 Innovation Hub.
A study sponsored by the Inter-University Council of Ohio in May found that UC generates $10.6 billion in income and more than 125,000 jobs for the business community in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and eastern Indiana.
UC contributes $2.5 billion in clinical health care spending; $679 million in operational spending; $418 million in research spending and more than $200 million in student spending each year.
The university created a new College of Cooperative Education and Professional Studies. It builds on the model that UC engineering Dean Herman Schneider pioneered in 1906 in which students spend part of the year in the classroom and part of the year working full time at employers in their chosen fields.
And UC was named among the nation’s top universities for co-op by U.S. News & World Report in its latest rankings.
Featured image at top: UC graduates celebrated fall commencement Friday at Fifth Third Arena. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Marketing + Brand
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