Over 1,000 Bobcats walked the stage at graduation during UC Merced’s 10th commencement ceremony. They are now a part of the nearly 4,000 other UC Merced alumni.
This year’s graduating classes is the largest UC Merced class to date. A total of 1,075 bachelor’s degrees were awarded, in addition to 15 master’s degrees and 26 doctoral degrees. Students who graduated ranged in age from 19 to 65 years old.
On Saturday, May 16, graduates from the graduate and undergraduate divisions in both the School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences were celebrated. Sunday, May 17, saw both graduate and undergraduate students in the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts honored.
Richard A. Tapia, University Professor and Optimization Theory Researcher from Rice University, visited UC Merced from Houston, Texas to present the commencement address to candidates from the School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences. His message to the graduates was that excellence comes in many flavors; “not only do we belong, but we belong as leaders.” His speech described some of the challenges and obstacles he and his family have experienced, conveying that “our only choice is to face challenges with the hand we have been dealt.” He encouraged everyone to cope and still enjoy life, even if every dream does not come true. [pullquote cite=”Aja Johnson” type=”right”]Commencement was a phenomenal experience for me. I was so proud to have my family and friends at UC Merced to celebrate my accomplishments, as well as the accomplishments of my peers.[/pullquote]
Biological Sciences major Hatim Hanif, from Manteca, addressed his fellow graduates in the School of Engineering and the School of Natural Sciences. Hanif congratulated everyone on their hard work and dedication, recognizing that each and every Bobcat deserves to be celebrated. His next step is medical school, so he can become a surgeon. Ultimately, he plans to provide medical services for underprivileged communities around the world.
Former Deputy Director and Acting Director from the National Science Foundation, Cora B. Marrett, spoke to graduates from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts. Marrett is a professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she was a member of the faculty for more than 30 years. In 2011, President Barack Obama nominated Marrett as the permanent deputy director; the U.S. Senate approved her appointment. She was also a member on former President Jimmy Carter’s Presidential Commission on the Accident at Three Mile Island—a nuclear meltdown that occurred at one of the nuclear reactors in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania in 1979.
Management and Business Economics Major John Elias, from Santa Rosa, spoke to his fellow graduates from the School of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts. Elias contributed to Greek life at UC Merced through his efforts with other key Bobcats to form a fraternity where he held a leadership position and helped facilitate many service events in the Merced community. His goal is to start a company in the food industry.
Biology major Aja Johnson stated, “Commencement was a phenomenal experience for me. I was so proud to have my family and friends at UC Merced to celebrate my accomplishments, as well as the accomplishments of my peers.”