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May 8, 2018

UA Commencement To Be Streamed Live

TUCSON, Ariz. — The University of Arizona's 154th Commencement ceremony, which will feature a pre-ceremony event and fireworks at its conclusion, will be streamed live by Arizona Public Media. 

UA President Robert C. Robbins will confer about 5,900 degrees on students in the Class of 2018, including bachelor's degrees, master's/specialist degrees, doctorates, juris doctor degrees, medical degrees and doctorates in pharmacy. About 4,500 graduates and 40,000 guests are expected to attend Commencement.

The keynote address will be delivered by Ray Mabus, former secretary of the Navy, governor of Mississippi and U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. (Link:


To ensure accommodations and media credentials for Commencement coverage, members of the media are asked to RSVP by Wednesday, May 9, at noon. Email Stacy Pigott at with the names of those attending and a request if you would like to interview Ray Mabus.

Media who RSVP may pick up credentials between 3 and 5:30 p.m. on Friday, May 11, in the media parking area (Lot 8106) south of the Student Recreation Center, at the southeastern corner of Highland Avenue and Seventh Street. A section has been reserved for media inside the stadium, on the east sideline of the field, and a mult box will be provided.


Weather for the ceremony is expected to be hot. Please plan accordingly. The temperature is expected to be about 100 degrees on Friday, so stay hydrated. University Communications will have water available for media, and there will be free water filling stations available around the stadium. 

The west side of the stadium, under the skyboxes, will be open and shaded as soon as the gates open. Seating on the east side of the stadium will be exposed to sunlight until sunset at approximately 7:15 p.m. A diagram of shaded seating available when gates open at 5:30 is available at


More Commencement information can be found online:  

Also: Follow Commencement coverage using the hashtag #BearDownLife  

Graduating students include:

Hillary Viswanathan: Viswanathan has a bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of Washington and is graduating from the UA in nursing. She is a certified group fitness instructor and health coach who helped the UA College of Nursing pilot innovative honors projects focused on wellness, integrative nursing care and community service. Viswanathan plans to pursue a career as a nurse in a surgical and trauma intensive care unit. 

Olena Kopystynska: Kopystynska did not speak English when she moved to the U.S. at age 15 and is now receiving her Ph.D., realizing “a lifelong dream.” She knew early in her college career that she wanted to become a professor. Kopystynska has studied conflict and conflict resolution, and her paper examining how parents handle conflict was published last year by the Journal of Family Psychology, receiving extensive media coverage. 

Dino Kadich: Kadich completed a double major in geography and Africana studies with a 4.0 GPA. His honors thesis, an exploration of youth politics through the lens of popular culture, was based on independent research in Bosnia. Kadich is originally from Bosnia and left there as a young refugee. He was one of 55 (out of 6,000 applicants) to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Fellowship and will begin study at Cambridge University in the fall. 

Leah Kaplan: Kaplan is a chemical engineering major and Flinn Scholar who is graduating with a 4.0 GPA. She studied in Guatemala in the summer between her sophomore and junior years, and she was the only undergraduate selected to attend a 2017 American Association for the Advancement of Science conference on science diplomacy in Washington, D.C. At Commencement, she will receive the Merrill P. Freeman Medal, given annually to two UA seniors for "outstanding moral force of character." 

Kahlin Leuzinger: Mobile disc jockey and janitor are not jobs commonly seen on the career path of a doctor, but that's exactly the journey Leuzinger took to get to the UA College of Medicine – Tucson. Leuzinger, who supported his family and three children while in medical school, is headed to Mayo Clinic with the goal of becoming an anesthesiologist. 

Tjasa Oder: Originally from Slovenia, Oder is a swimmer who competed for the UA for more than two years and represented Slovenia in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. She transitioned into the online undergraduate program in the Eller College of Management so that she could return home and begin training for the 2020 Games. 

Alyssa Lyn Fortier: Fortier is completing a double major in math and molecular and cellular biology with a 4.0 GPA, and also minored in biochemistry and computer science. She revitalized the UA’s MathCats club, which has done extensive community outreach including math tutoring at a Tucson nonprofit center for refugees. She also created a "systems of equations" bingo game for a local middle school's math and science night. Fortier has been awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation.

To connect with any of these students, or if you need information about the ceremony, contact Stacy Pigott at

Media Contacts:
Stacy Pigott
UA Communications

Doug Carroll
UA Communications

Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $622 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.