UArizona to confer about 8,000 degrees as full-scale Commencement returns

a graduate taking a selfie with parents

A Class of 2021 graduate snaps a selfie with family last year during the College of Education and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences' combined ceremony in Arizona Stadium. This year's Commencement will mark the first in three years that has not been scaled-back or held virtually because of COVID-19.

Chris Richards/University of Arizona

University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins will confer about 8,000 bachelor's, master's, doctoral and professional degrees at the university's 158th Commencement May 13.

The event will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium and will be streamed live on YouTube. The 90-minute event will mark the first time since the start of the pandemic that all graduates will come together in person to celebrate at Arizona Stadium. In 2020, Commencement was held virtually, with a delayed in-person celebration held on the Mall during Homecoming in November 2021. Spring 2021 Commencement was split into a series of smaller in-person events at the stadium and the Cole and Jeannie Davis Sports Center.

"Our entire team is excited to be 100% back in Arizona Stadium for one night celebrating the Class of 2022," said Heather Lukach, assistant vice president for presidential events and university ceremonies. "We expect a wonderful turnout of families, friends and campus community to give our graduates proper send off."

The stadium's Gate 7, at the southwest corner of the facility, will open at 5:30 p.m. for early access to the shaded west side of the stadium. All other gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Guest seating is on a first-come, first-served basis, and no tickets are required. More information for guests is available on the Commencement website.

Dante Lauretta

Dante Lauretta

Dante Lauretta, a UArizona Regents Professor of Planetary Science and Cosmochemistry and principal investigator of NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, will deliver the ceremony's keynote address.

OSIRIS-REx is the United States' premier mission to visit a potentially hazardous near-Earth asteroid and bring back a sample. The spacecraft, which launched in 2016, successfully obtained a sample from asteroid Bennu's surface in 2020. Now on its way back, OSIRIS-REx will return the sample to Earth on Sept. 24, 2023 before continuing on to explore asteroid Apophis under a new mission name – OSIRIS-APEX.

Lauretta and others will analyze the Bennu surface sample, which will likely yield fundamental knowledge about the origin of terrestrial planets and how to avoid potential asteroid impacts on Earth.

Lauretta graduated from UArizona in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in physics and mathematics from the College of Science and a Bachelor of Art in Oriental studies with an emphasis in Japanese from the College of Humanities. He earned his doctorate in Earth and planetary sciences in 1997 from Washington University in St. Louis.

"As a leader of one of the biggest space sciences missions in a generation, Dr. Lauretta embodies the University of Arizona's core values of exploration and determination. I am so proud and honored that one of our own renowned researchers – and one of our alumni – will address the class of 2022," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "Dr. Lauretta is an inspirational role model for all our Wildcats who continually demonstrate the sky, in fact, is not the limit."

Honorary degree recipients

The university will award five honorary degrees at this year's Commencement. The recipients are:

Nancy Berge
Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of Education

Berge worked for several years as a public school teacher before leaving teaching to focus on raising her two daughters. She took over management of Berge Ford when her husband, Craig, died in 2017.

Berge created a scholarship for students in the UArizona College of Education in the name of her great aunt, Nancy Lee Anderson, and her family. The Berge family has also established endowed chairs at the university, including the Craig M. Berge College of Engineering Endowed Dean's Chair and the Nancy C. and Craig M. Berge Endowed Chair for the Director of the University of Arizona Cancer Center. The family also made significant contributions to establish an endowed directorship of the Steele Children's Research Center at the College of Medicine – Tucson's Department of Pediatrics.

Louva Dahozy
Doctor of Science from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Dahozy is a Diné knowledge holder, health educator, cultural teacher and voters' rights activist who joined the UArizona Cooperative Extension system as a community educator in 1958. She worked for the Office of Navajo Economic Opportunity in the late 1960s, where she helped secure federal funding for radio programs in the Diné language focused on healthy foods, nutrition and the diverse knowledge and skills of home economics.

Dahozy has extended her advocacy beyond nutrition education to other issues, including voters' rights, voter registration and the needs of women and older adults in Indigenous communities. She has served as founder and ex-officio member of both the National Indian Council on Aging and the Navajo Nation Council on Aging. She also was a founder and ex-officio member of the North American Indian Women's Association in 1970 and a representative at the White House Conferences on Aging in 1971 and 1973.

Adalberto "Beto" Guerrero
Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Guerrero, who spent decades as a champion for Spanish-speaking students, began his career in 1958 as a Spanish teacher at Pueblo High School, where he helped start an honors Spanish class for native speakers.

Guerrero became a full-time faculty member at UArizona in 1963. He retired in 1994, but his legacy and commitment to the community continue. In 2014, the university dedicated the Adalberto and Ana Guerrero Student Center, a cultural center where students gather, learn and create community.

W. Kent McClelland
Doctor of Humane Letters from the Eller College of Management

McClelland is president and CEO of Shamrock Foods Company, the third-generation leader of the family-owned and operated business that was founded in Tucson in 1922.

In 2014, McClelland and his father, Norman, committed $3.5 million to the Eller College of Management to establish the McClelland Family Endowment for Faculty Excellence, allowing the college to attract and retain outstanding teachers and researchers in the business disciplines. W. Kent McClelland has also served as a guest speaker in Eller classes. Shamrock Farms, under McClelland's leadership, supports several Eller and UArizona initiatives, and offers internships to Eller master's degree students.

Joe Tremaine
Doctor of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts

Tremaine is an award-winning dancer, choreographer and educator whose career spans many dance styles and includes work in television, film and theater. He now serves as president and co-founder of Tremaine Dance Conventions and Competitions.

Tremaine's support of the UArizona School of the Dance goes back three decades, with him appearing as a guest performer at the Arizona Jazz Dance Showcase and donating his talent and teachings to young dancers. Tremaine often enthusiastically recommends the School of Dance to attendees at his conventions and competitions.

Student award winners

Seven outstanding graduating students will be presented with awards at Commencement. The awards and their recipients are:

Provost Award: Karen Jacquez, who is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in law and a minor in psychology.

Robert Logan Nugent Awards: Nizan Howard, who is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in information science and technology and a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics; and Trevor Nolan Tankersley, who is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences in physiology and medical sciences.

Robie Gold Medal Awards: Lily Yu Lin McNair, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in nutritional sciences with an emphasis on dietetics and a minor in biochemistry; and My Duyen Tran, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in molecular and cellular biology, with an emphasis in human health and genetics, and a minor in gender and women's studies.

Merrill P. Freeman Medals: Bryce Galus, who is graduating magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in both marketing and business management; and Anna-Rose Quinn, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in both marketing and business management.

Read more about the student award winners in the University of Arizona News article "Graduates will be honored for their determination and excellence inside and outside the classroom."