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May 8, 2023

Media advisory: UArizona will confer about 8,000 degrees at Commencement

  • What: 159th University of Arizona Commencement
  • When: Friday, May 12, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Arizona Stadium
  • Media parking: Lot 8110 at the southeast corner of North Warren Avenue and East Sixth Street, across the street and just southeast of Arizona Stadium. 
  • RSVP: Please RSVP to Alexis Blue,, by noon Wednesday, May 10, to reserve a media credential. Credentials will be available for pickup May 12, beginning at 4:30 p.m., at Lot 8110.

TUCSON, Ariz. – University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins will confer about 8,000 bachelor's, master's, doctoral and professional degrees at the university's 159th Commencement May 12.

The 90-minute event will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium and will be streamed live on YouTube.

"We are excited to celebrate the class of 2023 and anticipate a great turnout of families and friends in Arizona Stadium to enjoy the festivities and give our graduates a proper send-off," said Heather Lukach, assistant vice president for presidential events and university ceremonies.

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.

The university will enforce game-day rules at all guest entrances, including enforcing the stadium's clear bag policy and using metal detectors for screening. No large bags, backpacks, or parcels will be permitted. All in-hand items must be placed in the appropriate and approved clear bag.

More information for guests is available on the Commencement website.

This year's Commencement address will be delivered by Michael Tubbs, who became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city in 2016 when he was elected to office in Stockton, California, at age 26.

Tubbs' election also made him the city's first African American mayor. He is now special adviser to California Gov. Gavin Newsom for economic mobility and opportunity. Tubbs is also the founder of the organizations Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, End Poverty in California and Tubbs Ventures, an investment firm.

Tubbs will be available for brief interviews on May 12 before the ceremony, between 4:45 and 5:15 p.m. Media interested in interviewing Tubbs should email Alexis Blue, for access.

Honorary degree and Alumni Achievement Award recipients

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

  • Charles "Chuck" Huckelberry, Doctor of Humane Letters from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences
  • Jon Jessen, Doctor of Science from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • Linda McCartney (posthumously), Doctor of Fine Arts from the College of Fine Arts
  • Robert H. Mundheim, Doctor of Laws from the James E. Rogers College of Law
  • James C. Wyant, Doctor of Science from the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences
  • Amy Zuckerman, Doctor of Humane Letters from the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

The university will also recognize Bob and Beverely Elliot as this year's Alumni Achievement Award winners.

The Elliotts are longtime Tucson business owners, philanthropists and volunteers whose accounting firm, Elliott Accounting Group, has served Tucson since 1983. Bob is founder and president of Elliott Accounting Group. Beverely, a retired educator and vice president of Elliott Accounting Group, is executive director of the African American Museum of Southern Arizona, which the Elliotts opened on the UArizona campus in January.

Bob earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration and accounting and a Master of Business Administration from the Eller College of Management and played basketball for the Wildcats from 1973-1977 before playing professionally in the NBA. Beverely earned her Bachelor of Science in health sciences and community health education from the University of Arizona and a master's degree in counseling and psychology from Prescott College. She spent much of her career as a teacher and counselor for the Tucson Unified School District.

Read more about the honorary degree and Alumni Achievement Award recipients in the University of Arizona News article "UArizona to confer about 8,000 degrees at Commencement."

Student award winners

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

  • Provost Award: Ryan Ellsworth, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in communication with a minor in criminology.
  • Robert Logan Nugent Awards: Kristijan Barnjak, who is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics, economics and law, a Bachelor of Arts in economics, and a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy with an emphasis in ethics, and Hillary Schiff, who is graduating summa cum laude with honors with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in French.
  • Robie Gold Medal Awards: Jessica Plaza Rodríguez, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in family studies and human development and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish with an emphasis in Hispanic literature, and Mikah Wesley Rosanova, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in law, with minors in music and in gender and women's studies.
  • Merrill P. Freeman Medals: Vanessa Addison, who is graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry, and Elizabeth Grace Hala'ufia, who is graduating summa cum laude with honors with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience and cognitive science, with a minor in biochemistry.

Read more about the student award winners in the University of Arizona News article "UArizona will recognize seven outstanding graduating seniors at Commencement."

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Media contact:
University Communications