Congratulations, Class of 2023!
The University of Arizona welcomed about 4,500 students and 33,000 guests to Arizona Stadium on May 12 for the university's 159th Commencement, where President Robert C. Robbins conferred about 8,000 degrees.
Commencement speaker Michael Tubbs, the former mayor of Stockton, California, told graduates in his address that their most valuable lessons would come from periods of struggle. Tubbs became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city at 26 years old when he was elected in 2016. His election also made him Stockton's first African American mayor.
Graduates should learn, Tubbs said, to turn pain into purpose and use rejection as redirection to make the world a better place 50 years from now. He spoke from experience, sharing stories of tragedy and loss – including when he lost re-election in 2020.
"It's easy to answer your question, 'What are you willing to win for?'" he said. "But true leadership and true purpose goes to the answer of this question: What are you willing to lose for?"
Robbins, in his remarks, recognized the challenging year the university has had, particularly the tragic death of Thomas Meixner, professor and head of the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, in October. Robbins thanked members of the university community for supporting each other with "compassion and empathy."
"One of the clearest things for me this year is how much everyone here loves the University of Arizona," Robbins said. "This is a very special place, and though you are graduating tonight, I hope you know you will always be part of the Wildcat family."
See scenes from the 159th Commencement in the photo gallery above and watch a recording of the event on YouTube.