To the UA Community,
Monday, I joined the graduates of the College of Medicine – Phoenix for my first Commencement ceremony as UA president, and this Friday, nearly 4,500 students will come to Arizona Stadium to receive their degrees in front of almost 43,000 friends and family.
I know that the convocations and university Commencement ceremonies held this week will mark a distinct moment of pride for the class of 2018 as they cap off this stage of their lives. Since my first days at the UA, I have met so many amazing students, each whose story and path are something to celebrate, and I can think of no better way to conclude my first year as president than to help commemorate their achievement.
This year’s winners of the Nugent Award both have amazing stories and are going on to incredible new opportunities: Meagan Tran, who decided to pursue a career in medicine after volunteering with the Crisis Text Line, will join Teach For America before attending medical school at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale. Lindsey Chew, who recently presented her undergraduate research on non-opioid pain relief to members of Congress, will begin a dual M.D. and Ph.D. program in medical science at Duke University. Five other incredible students will join Meagan and Lindsey on the Commencement platform as student achievement awardees. Cynthia Burr will receive the Provost’s Award, Jose Luis Rios-Monterossa and Namrah Habib will be honored with the Robie Medal, and Leah Kaplan and Kendra Yoffie with the Freeman Award.
Whether our graduates begin a career or pursue further education, they are prepared to serve others, solve problems, and continue learning throughout their lives. The class of 2018 dreams big and knows how to do incredible things for our future.
Commencement is also an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our extended Wildcat family. Jeff and Sharon Stevens, two of the UA’s biggest supporters and incredible leaders in the UA community, will receive the Alumni Achievement Award. The UA also will confer two honorary degrees: a Doctor of Science from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for Gilbert Aguirre and a Doctor of Humane Letters from the Eller College of Management and College of Social and Behavioral Sciences for Mohammed Sharaf.
Finally, I am thrilled that we will have Former Secretary of the Navy and Former Governor of Mississippi, Ray Mabus, as our speaker at Friday’s ceremony. Secretary Mabus is an exceptional leader with an impeccable record of service, and I know he will share an inspiring message with our graduates and their friends and families.
This has been a memorable week so far, and I can’t wait for Friday. Overall, we have close to 5,900 students graduating in Spring 2018, with 5,339 on our main campus, 86 in Phoenix, 81 at UA South, and 338 from UA Online. And our graduates’ time as Wildcats doesn’t end here—they are entering a 290,000-strong community of alumni here in Arizona and around the world who make us proud every day. For more information on Commencement, which will be broadcast live, and the many convocations honoring students this week, please visit commencement.arizona.edu.
Congratulations, graduates! And Bear Down!
Robert C. Robbins, M.D.
University of Arizona