Students and families gathered at the timeless Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Saturday for the spring 2022 graduation ceremony at the university’s largest college.
The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Spring Class of 2022, along with their families, gathered at Carver-Hawkeye Arena for their graduation ceremony on Saturday.
The event was Carver’s first spring graduation since 2019 due to COVID-19. A series of choppy leaflets filled the arena as students and families fanned themselves, trying to neutralize the effects of the thick, balmy air.
IU President Barbara Wilson took to the podium to thunderous applause and thanked the parents and families of the class, saying college is about teamwork. Then she addressed the students.
“Thank you for working so diligently on your studies and especially for choosing the University of Iowa for your education,” she said.
Wilson said the graduation ceremony is a major celebration for the university.
“At the start, we are fulfilling our mission to educate and send out into the world fresh graduates with fresh ideas and perspectives that will literally change the world,” Wilson said.
She then let the students know that they would always be part of the Hawkeye family and assured them that their future work would positively reflect their alma mater.
“The last thing I have to ask you is wherever you go, wherever you vacation, wherever you live, proudly wear your gold and black gear because people will recognize you wherever you go. ..”, she said.
Bailey Deppe, a UI graduate majoring in biochemistry, said he’ll likely work for a year before going to graduate school, either biochemistry or molecular biology.
“I’m excited to get out there and find a job,” he said.
Deppe looks back most fondly on the time he spent participating in the lay student club and the debate club with his friends, he said.
Rebecka Williams, a graduate who earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts, said now that she’s graduated, she’ll be moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota for graphic design work.
“It’s amazing,” she said. “I thought we wouldn’t make it here, and I’m sure of what everyone is saying. But I really didn’t feel like the past four years would pass as quickly as they did.
She expressed her gratitude to the teachers who believed in her and pushed her, saying they were the ones who prepared her for what lies ahead.
Williams said there are certain moments from her time in college that she will look back on in the future.
“I think the times that you think won’t be the most special are always the ones that are special,” she said.
While some students reflected emotionally on their experiences, others did not share the same feelings.
Noni Gilkey, a philosophy graduate, said while it was nice to graduate, her experience at UI was not a happy one.
“It’s the most racist place in the world,” she said. “I am grateful for the friends I have made. [The] Black Student Union is also a great place that helped me a lot, but that’s about it.
Lucas Russell, a specialist in sports and recreation management, said it was weird to graduate, but he will continue to study sports and recreation management and sports administration at the graduate school of him.
“It’s not as emotional as it might be for someone else, but it feels good,” he said.
Russell is grateful for the experience his program has given him in his field, he said.
“You go out and do internships, you work part-time, you go on field trips, you do all the work in class and then you apply it,” he said.