UToledo Recognizes Graduates’ Resilience During Commencement Ceremonies

By Meghan Cunningham '18

Excited graduates joined by proud family and friends celebrated their college graduation milestone on Saturday with commencement ceremonies in the Glass Bowl.

The University of Toledo President Gregory Postel congratulated graduates for their focus, resilience and strength to overcome the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic during the last year.

“Today we celebrate you and your successful academic journey,” he said. “Achieving this milestone isn’t easy — even under normal circumstances. You have all persevered through unimaginable hardships and I’m confident that you are now prepared to face anything. Your accomplishments — both individually and collectively — inspire hope in all of us!”

The two in-person commencement ceremonies — one at 10 a.m. and another at 3 p.m. — celebrated 1,964 candidates for bachelor’s degrees, 703 candidates for master’s degrees, 52 candidates for associate’s degrees, 12 candidates for educational specialist and 45 candidates for graduate certificates.

Daire’yon Watson, who earned his bachelor’s degree in social work, leads a line of Rockets excited to celebrate their graduation.

Another 302 graduates from the Class of 2020 who earned their degrees during the coronavirus pandemic returned to campus to participate in the in-person ceremonies.

The night before, UToledo hosted a doctoral hooding ceremony in Savage Arena for graduates earning the University’s highest academic degrees.

UToledo alumna Irma Olguin Jr. remotely delivered the keynote address at each of the ceremonies.

Olguin, who graduated in 2004 from the UToledo College of Engineering with a bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering, is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Bitwise Industries in Fresno, Calif. Her tech company has a social mission to revive economically challenged cities by building a robust technology sector.

Heidi Herman earner her master of science in nursing through the clinical nurse leader program.

She inspired graduates to find out how they can do their highest and best for themselves and for their communities.

“Today is about figuring out what kind of person you want to be — not what kind of job, not what title, not what salary, not your retirement plan, but what kind of person are you going to be,” she said. “Now you’re here. This is a thing not everybody gets to accomplish. This is a thing where everybody’s life experience may not lead them to this moment. So, what are you going to do with that? How are you going to give back? What kind of person are you going to be?”

The commencement ceremonies also were streamed live online and can be watched at utoledo.edu/commencement.

Additional upcoming commencement ceremonies include the College of Law Commencement at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 15, and the College of Medicine and Life Sciences Commencement at 3 p.m. Friday, May 21, both in Savage Arena.