By Julia DiGiacomo
Years of hard work and devotion have paid off for 1,400 undergraduate and graduate students celebrating their graduations with a series of commencement ceremonies today through Dec. 17.
Six University of Iowa colleges will hold commencement ceremonies to honor the achievements of their students, including the College of Education for the first time.
All of the commencement ceremonies will be held in Hancher except for the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and University College commencement, which will be held in Carver-Hawkeye. Doors will open an hour before each event officially begins.
The Education College ceremony will occur at 5 p.m. today. The Graduate College will honor its students at 7 p.m. Friday. Both the College of Nursing and Liberal Arts College commencements will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday. The Tippie College of Business students will have their ceremony at noon Saturday, and the College of Engineering is finishing up commencement week with its ceremony at noon Dec. 17.
“This is our way to send our students off into the world,” said Sara Sullivan, the Registrar services coordinator and commencement-planning team lead. “This is their last experience with the University of Iowa, so we really want to make it special and let them know, once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.”
The ceremonies will feature a variety of student and faculty speakers from each college, a photo backdrop for families to take pictures, and a quintet made up of School of Music faculty. There will also be a livestream of the ceremonies available online at now.uiowa.edu.
Pulitzer-Prize-winner, world-renowned author, and UI Professor Emeritus Marilynne Robinson will receive an honorary degree at the Liberal Arts College ceremony. Robinson, who taught in the Iowa Writers’ Workshop for 25 years, will be honored with an honorary doctorate of humane letters and will deliver the keynote speech.
“This is the first honorary degree since I’ve been here that has such an intimate connection to Iowa,” Sullivan said.
The Education College will hold its first-ever commencement because the school was recently approved to confer its own degrees. In the past, it held had a convocation ceremony to acknowledge the presentation of the students for licensure.
Sullivan said the ceremonies are known as commencement instead of graduation because the conferral of the degree is an administrative process that occurs after grades are in, so commencement is purely ceremonial.
Education College student speaker and recent English secondary-education graduate Elizabeth Halverson described commencement as “a chance to celebrate the accomplishments behind you and look ahead to what potentially comes in the future.”
Vocal-performance and music-education student Ben Ross will sing the national anthem before walking at the Liberal Arts ceremony, which he described as a “great honor.”
“It means [the voice-performance faculty] think I have made a difference to the department and have really grown as a singer and a musician,” he said.
Economics major and Tippie student speaker Molly Monroe advises her fellow graduates to remember where they came from.
“Remember all of the great things about Tippie and what it means to be graduating from there,” she said. “Pursue new jobs and opportunities with the same energy, enthusiasm, and determination as we have as students.”