12:41 PM

Graduates Shine in the Spotlight at 68th Commencement Ceremony

Future Leaders Ready to take City, State and Country to 'New Heights'

The hard work, dedication and Gator Grit of more than 3,700 candidates for graduation was celebrated at the University of Houston-Downtown’s 68th Commencement virtual ceremony on Saturday Dec. 19.

The event highlighted the academic achievements of spring, summer and fall graduates and was streamed on the UHD Facebook page and YouTube.

In addition, the ceremonies are now available to view on-demand on UHD’s website.

“All of you are unforgettable for accomplishing something remarkable,” UHD Interim President Antonio D. Tillis, Ph.D. told the graduates. “Through hard work, diligence, dedication, and determination, you have completed your degrees. That is no easy task, even in ordinary times … but despite extraordinary circumstances, you are now graduates of the University of Houston-Downtown.”

Among those receiving their degrees included Renita Gray-Taylor, who earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Corporate Communication, and her son Anthony Taylor, who completed his MBA. The Taylors’ story has been featured in the news, including features on KHOU and an appearance on FOX26’s “Isiah Factor.”

Also graduating this weekend were sisters Zanda, Erneka and Tiffany Lampkin. All three earned the same degree, a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies. They also made headlines, including stories in the Houston Chronicle and ABC13.

“No matter your discipline or your degree, your knowledge is needed in the workforce,” Tillis said. “Transfer what you learned in the UHD classroom to meaningful careers that yield professional success and personal reward. And most importantly, put that Gator Grit to great use. Our community needs innovative and creative minds such as yours right now. Identify opportunities to inspire your fellow Houstonians and help them during these challenging times.”

Faculty Senate President Dr. Ron Beebe led the opening of commencement, followed by the Star Spangled Banner performed by UHD’s Mariachi Los Caimanes.

University of Houston System (UHS) Board of Regent Jack Moore and UHS Chancellor Dr. Renu Khator extended virtual greetings to the graduates. In addition, UHD Student Government Association (SGA) President Alan Modrow greeted students and virtual guests.

The Introduction of Candidates was led by Dr. Eric Carl Link, Senior Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs & Provost and the Deans of UHD's five colleges. After all of the students’ names were called, the event concluded with a rendition of the “UHD Alma Mater” by the UHD Police Department’s Stephen Vega.

Interim President Tillis reminded students that their academic achievements are just a preview of more great things to come from the Class of 2020.

“Your academic achievements are just a preview of more great things to come from this Class of 2020,” he said. “Among the more than 3,000 students who are receiving degrees are future leaders ready to take our city, state, and country to new heights.”

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.