UHD Student Commencement Speakers Share Words Of Encouragement
By Mark Kramer
The University of Houston-Downtown will hold its 72nd Commencement Ceremonies on May 15 at NRG Stadium. Two student speakers will share words of encouragement with their fellow graduates.
Gabriela Medina, who is earning her Bachelor of Social Work from the College of Public Service, will serve as the speaker for the noon ceremony. Gator alum Sebastian Troitino, who is graduating with a Master of Business Administration degree from the Marilyn Davies College of Business, will address his classmates at the 4 p.m. event.
After graduating from UHD, Medina will pursue a Master of Social Work at The University of Texas at Austin. Medina’s plans after earning her master’s degree include a career as a healthcare social worker. During her time at UHD, Medina volunteered her time and talents to multiple community agencies, including the Baker-Ripley Entrepreneur Connection Program, Big Brothers-Big Sisters, Casa Juan Diego, Child Advocacy, Refugee Services of Texas, and Boat People SOS.
“It gives me great joy to be able to assist others in their times of need and to be their advocate,” Medina said. “Giving my time and effort to these programs is very gratifying and something I love.” As Medina prepares to cross the stage and receive her diploma, she shares some advice for future students.
“Don’t give up, even when times are hard,” Medina said. “If you live in the present, you can realize how amazing our lives are even when times are tough. Appreciate the small things around you instead of comparing yourself to someone else’s success.”
After earning his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in May 2020, Troitino was determined to earn an MBA by next Sunday.
The first-generation graduate recently put his undergraduate degree to work as the Digital Marketing Manager at Lee College in Baytown. Prior to accepting the position at Lee in April, Troitino was the Digital Communications Specialist at UHD’s Marilyn Davies College of Business.
“Everything I have learned from my professors has been put into practice in my career,” Troitino said. “The education I've received from UHD has been invaluable. This University opened its doors, gave me more than I could ever ask for as a student, and helped me become the leader I am today. I am proud to be a UHD Gator.”
Troitino said his parents inspired him to be the first in his family to earn his college diploma and pursue a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree.
“They have sacrificed tremendous experiences and opportunities for me and my siblings to obtain an education,” he said. “They continue to fuel me with motivation, understanding, and unconditional love, expecting nothing in return, and that is what continues to drive me. I also hope that I can inspire future generations to believe and know that a college education is possible.”
For more information on the ceremonies, visit the commencement website.
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.