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UHD Celebrating Academic Achievements of More Than 2,100 Gator Grads

71st Commencement Ceremonies Slated for Dec. 18


By Mike Emery

The lights in NRG Stadium will soon shine bright upon Gator Graduates during the University of Houston-Downtown's 71st Commencement Ceremony. On Dec. 18, UHD will celebrate the academic achievements of its Class of Fall 2021 … and it is inviting a few special guests to share wisdom and well-wishes. 

Commencement ceremonies on this date are schedule for 8:30 a.m. (for Marilyn Davies College of Business and College of Sciences & Technology grads) and 2 p.m. (spotlighting those earning degrees from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, University College and College of Public Service). 

At both events, the University has assembled local and state leaders, as well as representatives from the UH System.  

Harris County Commissioner for Precinct 1 Rodney Ellis will deliver remarks during the 8:30 a.m. ceremony and will be joined by Jack Moore of the UH System Board of Regents. During this ceremony, longtime legislator and current Texas Senator (representing District 13) Borris Miles will be bestowed with the President’s Medallion. During this event, graduates also will hear from one of their own, Chidozie Oguejiofor who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and plans to prepare for medical school. 

The 2 p.m. event will feature Texas Senator Carol Alvarado of District 6 delivering remarks and also receiving the President’s Medallion. UH System Student Regent Derek Delgado will be on hand during this ceremony to offer greetings, and the student speaker will be aspiring professor Jaida Doll who will earn a Bachelor of Arts in English. 

The President’s Medallion being awarded to Senators Miles and Alvarado is awarded at the discretion of UHD President Loren J. Blanchard to individuals or organizations who are distinguished by their service to the University community. 

This ceremony represents a return to scheduled graduation events following disruptions caused by COVID-19. Earlier this fall, the University hosted in-person ceremonies for 2020 and Spring 2021 graduates who were unable to walk the stage due to safety concerns during the pandemic. 

Approximately 2,100 graduates are expected to participate in the University’s 71st Commencement Ceremonies. Among those graduating will be twins Jasmin and Jaquelin Amaya, who both will earn their bachelor’s degrees in Criminal Justice. Other Gator Grads will be spotlighted in upcoming editions of UHD News and on social media. Also, Ricky Rodriguez will earn his bachelor’s degree in Health & Behavioral Science this fall. Rodriguez was a promising high school football standout, but an injury derailed his career. He found a new calling in esports at UHD and was instrumental in launching the institution’s popular program and managed one of its teams. Another grad Titi Awoniyi has perservered despite personal challenges such as a death in the family, a physical disability and even being hit by a car in her wheelchair. Now, she is prepared to earn her Master of Business Administration degree.


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.