The University of Arizona

UA Graduation Speakers Share Messages for the Future

By Rebecca Ruiz-McGill, University Communications | May 12, 2012

The UA held two commencement ceremonies celebrating the success of more than 4,000 graduates. Brian Schmidt and Dr. Peter Rhee served as the commencement speakers.

Students celebrate after graduating from the UA.
Students celebrate after graduating from the UA.
Thousands of students received their degrees during the May 12 undergraduate ceremony.
Thousands of students received their degrees during the May 12 undergraduate ceremony.
The undergraduate ceremony was held May 12 in McKale Memorial Center (Photos by Patrick McArdle/UANews)
The undergraduate ceremony was held May 12 in McKale Memorial Center (Photos by Patrick McArdle/UANews)

University of Arizona President Eugene G. Sander presided over the institution's 146th Commencement, conferring degrees upon undergraduate and graduate students during two ceremonies held May 11-12 at McKale Memorial Center. 

On May 11, Brian Schmidt, a UA alumnus and winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, spoke before hundreds of master's and doctoral students and their families, sharing his anxieties of juggling his and his wife's careers while pursuing what he thought was an impractical degree in astronomy to chase a dream that he loved.

Read the text of Schmidt's speech on UANews.org.

The ceremony featured honorary degree awards to Schmidt; Sérgio Assad, a world-renowned classical guitarist, composer and teacher; Harry A. George, a venture capitalist; Emily Meschter, a philanthropist and supporter of education; and Margaret Wilch, a science educator and UA alumna.

On May 12, the undergraduate ceremony featured Dr. Peter Rhee, chief of trauma, critical care and emergency surgery at The University of Arizona Medical Center-University Campus, as the keynote speaker.

He spoke before thousands of graduates and their family members, sharing his early love of travel, road to a career in trauma medicine and belief in education as a means to a better world.

Read the text of Rhee's speech via UANews.org.

Outstanding seniors Aeen Asghar and Alice Cai, both honors students, were honored with the Nugent Award; honors student Ella Starobinska and Jovan Ruvalcaba received Robie Medals; and Hanna Renee Henson and honors student Aubri Carman were awarded Freeman Medals.

UA students, family members and the general public may place an order for a DVD copy of the ceremony or past ceremonies.