16:35 PM

UHD Hosts 60th Commencement Ceremony at Minute Maid Park

Sunday, May 15, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) graduated more than 1,200 students at its 60th commencement ceremony. The ceremony, held at Minute Maid Park, featured UHD Interim President Michael A. Olivas and State Rep. Carol Alvarado offering encouraging and motivating words to a crowd of approximately 15,000 attendees.

Grand Marshall Rachna Sadana opened the ceremony, followed by welcome remarks from Ed Hugetz, interim senior vice president of academic affairs and provost, and University of Houston System Regent Paula Mendoza. University of Houston System Chancellor and University of Houston President Renu Khator congratulated graduates on their determination and significant accomplishment. "This university, and this ceremony, is a testament that opportunities can be created," said Khator.

During his address, Olivas congratulated graduates on their outstanding achievements, saying, "After all your hard work and countless sacrifices, your moment is finally here. You are college graduates with promising futures on the horizon."

Olivas also urged graduates to stay connected to UHD by joining the Alumni Association. "Become involved with the UHD Alumni Association and continue your support of our great university," he said. "Stay in touch with our alumni office, so we may stay in touch with you."

Featured commencement speaker, State Rep. Alvarado, encouraged graduates to be innovators and to think outside the box, saying, "Now it's your time, to break the glass ceiling, to explore opportunities and get creative." She concluded her remarks urging graduates to serve their community by voting, volunteering and mentoring others. "Your success comes with a civic responsibility."

Student speaker Heather Strange, who received a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, shared her own advice by encouraging fellow graduates to act. She said, "I encourage you to involve yourself in your community. Volunteer, save lives by donating blood, lift spirits by donating used clothes, spread the word about worthy causes in your community, and pay it forward with small acts of kindness. Most importantly, give back to this great university."

At the conclusion of her remarks, Strange shared a quotation from Dr. Daisaku Ikeda: "A great revolution in just one single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of society and further, will enable a change in the destiny of humankind."

The youngest UHD graduate was 19 and the oldest was 63 years of age. Out of the undergraduates (1,194), 129 (11%) were Asian; 291(24%) were African-American; 485(41%) were Hispanic; 237(20%) were Caucasian; and 3 (0%) were American Indian. Overall, UHD graduates represented 24 different countries.

View the spring 2016 UHD commencement highlights on YouTube.

View the commencement speakers' messages: