15:15 PM

UHD Hosts 58th Commencement Ceremony at Minute Maid Park

More than 1,000 students participated in UHD's 58th commencement ceremony Saturday in front of approximately 15,000 family members and friends at Minute Maid Park.

Grand Marshall Jerry Johnson opened the ceremony, followed by welcome remarks from Ed Hugetz, interim senior vice president of academic affairs and provost. UH System Regent Paula Mendoza then congratulated the graduates for their tenacity and significant accomplishment.

UHD President Bill Flores also applauded graduates for their hard work and determination and encouraged them to extend the same commitment to success in the next chapter of their lives. He recognized and asked students to stand if they were honors students, veterans, the first in their families to earn a college degree, parents who cared for children while studying, and if they worked more than 30 hours en route to earning their degree.

Mayor Pro-Tem and UHD alumnus Ed Gonzalez served as commencement guest speaker and encouraged students to serve others and give back, turn adversity into something good and seek creative solutions, continue to invest in learning and self-education, and strive to define success for themselves. He concluded his remarks with a quotation from George Bernard Shaw, "Life is no brief candle for me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations."

UHD student commencement speaker DaNae Woodard shared her own advice for her fellow graduates. She said, "I want to invite each of you to join me in realizing that we each have a purpose and an important role to play in this life and it is our job to seek it. Graduating class, we've made it this far. Let's enjoy it, embrace it, and commit to walk in our purpose for the benefit of our families, our communities and the world."

At the conclusion of his remarks, President Flores shared a quotation from Nelson Mandela who said, "Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world."

Flores noted, "With the education you've received at UHD, each of you is uniquely equipped to go out into the world and take action to institute lasting change."