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A Matter of Degrees: Gators Graduate During 2017 Commencement Weekend

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After a whirlwind weekend, more than 1,400 Gators graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown (UHD). Spring 2017 Commencement Weekend offered graduates, friends, families and faculty an opportunity to celebrate academic achievements and new beginnings.

On May 12, UHD hosted the first Graduate Programs Commencement for the recently named Marilyn Davies College of Business. Master of Business Administration graduates were recognized during this event in the Wilhelmina Cullen Robertson Auditorium. Davies College of Business Corporate Fellow Brad Cannaday served as the event’s guest speaker.

Two days later, the Gator community filled the stands at Minute Maid Park for the 62nd annual General Commencement ceremony. It was May 14, Mother’s Day, and the moms in attendance were saluted by UHD President Dr. Juan Sánchez Muñoz during his speech. Muñoz also applauded the 2017 graduates’ accomplishments.

“Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree takes discipline. It also takes passion, drive, and the desire to achieve your goals. Today is proof of that,” he said.

During the ceremony, the University awarded its first honorary degree to former New Mexico Governor and former Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson. That honor was presented by former UHD Interim President Dr. Michael A. Olivas.

Olivas himself was honored by Muñoz, who presented him with a recognition of outstanding service. The award, a massive blue trophy, was a token of the UHD community’s appreciation for Olivas’ leadership in 2016.

Among those graduating during this event were outgoing Student Government Association President Mustapha Nyallay, who is headed to law school at George Washington University; UHD’s youngest graduate Alice Turchaninova, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at age 19; and the University’s oldest graduate James Thomas, who received a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at age 66.