Nearly 2,900 UNLV students officially joined the ranks of alumni during two high-energy commencement ceremonies May 13 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“This is truly a great day in the history of our university, and the end to what has been an incredible year for us,” said UNLV President Len Jessup to thousands gathered in attendance.
Jessup referenced the historic presidential debate UNLV hosted in October, the forthcoming first class of the UNLV School of Medicine, construction on a new home for the Harrah Hotel College, and a new public policy institute led by retired political heavyweights Sen. Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner.
He also highlighted the success of UNLV’s student-athletes – nearly 70 graduated on Saturday – in competition, the classroom, and the community.
The Class of 2017 ranges in age from 19 to 85 and hails from 33 states and 50 foreign countries. The class is diverse – more than 50 percent racial/ethnic minority – and 84 percent of grads are Nevada residents.
Nevada System of Higher Education Regent Cedric Crear addressed the afternoon graduates, impressing upon them to take the knowledge they have received to be the change they want to see.
“We are at an important time in the history of our state. Now is a time of opportunity … Our state needs you to be the next generation of leaders to see us grow even more,” he said. “For some of you, this is the end of your academic road, but for many, this is just the next step in you going out and slaying the challenges of the world!”
The talent of UNLV’s students was on display throughout.
Newly minted business (and honors) grad Tre Norman emceed the events and performed his song, “I’m a Rebel.” The national champion UNLV Jazz Ensemble welcomed students into the arena, student vocalists performed the national anthem and alma mater, and, after the ceremonies, the acclaimed Star of the Desert marching band led new grads out.
President Jessup continued an enduring campus tradition by highlighting eight exceptional students who embody the academic, research, and community impact of the graduating class. This spring’s honorees included rising researchers in science, psychology and engineering; activists, educators, and survivors; an advocate for healthier communities; and a transportation expert working to make our roadways safer.
Business leader Ted Lee, a longtime university supporter and namesake of the Lee Business School, was presented an honorary doctorate.
Since 1964, UNLV has awarded nearly 126,000 degrees.
UNLV social media strategist Katy Griffin put together this recap of #UNLVGrad coverage.