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UAlbany Celebrates 2015 Spring Commencement May 15-17

UAlbany celebrates its 171st Spring Commencement May 15-17. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 1, 2015) – More than 3,300 students are expected to participate in the University at Albany’s 171st Commencement ceremonies, Friday, May 15, through Sunday, May 17.

The ceremony will be streamed online here. You can also follow UAlbany commencement on Twitter using #UAlbany2015 and see a comprehensive social media round-up of commencement at the #UAlbany2015 Tagboard page.

Undergraduate Commencement
University at Albany President Robert J. Jones will deliver the keynote to approximately 2,170 students at the undergraduate ceremony on Sunday, May 17. Festivities begin at 10 a.m. on the Entry Plaza lawn near Collins Circle.

Jones, the 19th president of the University, has worked throughout his career to advance international education and public engagement. At the ceremony, Jones will present former Common Council member, author, feminist scholar, and community activist Barbara Smith with an honorary degree.

UAlbany men’s basketball player Peter Hooley will be the student speaker. Hooley hit the game-winning shot to put UAlbany into the NCAA Tournament and shared his story of triumph over heartbreak in the loss of his mother to cancer.

The 2015 undergraduate class hails from 19 states and 17 countries, including Korea, China, and Ghana. Students will receive degrees in 56 different majors, including the most popular disciplines: psychology, sociology, and communication.

Females make up 52 percent of the class. The average student age is 23, with the youngest graduating student 19 and the oldest, 62. There are 27 veterans.

Graduate Commencement

Approximately 1,167 students are expected to receive master’s degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificates at the graduate commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 16, at 9 a.m. in the SEFCU Arena.

Albany Law School President Penelope “Penny” Andrews will deliver the main address. President Andrews’ advocacy for indigenous populations, with a focus on women’s rights, has spanned numerous countries, including Australia, South Africa, Germany, and the United States. Her most recent book is From Cape Town to Kabul: Rethinking Strategies for Pursuing Women’s Human Rights.

She is a frequent speaker and media resource on legal education, international human rights law, including women’s rights, and South African legal and constitutional issues. Earlier this year, she was named to Lawyers of Color’s Fourth Annual Power List Issue, marking her fourth consecutive year on the compendium of “the nation’s most influential minority attorneys and non-minority diversity advocates.”

President Andrews grew up in apartheid South Africa, fighting for equal rights. An annual award in her name – The Penelope E. Andrews Human Rights Award – is given by the South African law school at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Preliminary estimates based on degree applications indicate that some 1,017 students are expected to earn master’s degrees, 127 will earn doctorates, and 23 will earn graduate certificates. Graduate students hail from 17 states and 30 countries, including China, India, and Pakistan.

Graduates will receive master’s degrees in programs including social welfare, accounting, and business. Females make up 57 percent of graduate degree applicants to date. The average age is 29. The youngest graduating student is 21, and the oldest is 76. There are 17 veterans graduating.

Commencement Weekend Festivities

Commencement weekend kicks off Friday with the Lavender Graduation ceremony, honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ students and supporters. The event begins at 1 p.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom.

In addition, UAlbany’s eight schools and colleges will host individual department recognition ceremonies throughout the weekend.

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About the University at Albany
A comprehensive public research university, the University at Albany offers more than 120 undergraduate majors and minors and 125 master's, doctoral, and graduate certificate programs. UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as atmospheric and environmental sciences, business, criminal justice, emergency preparedness, engineering and applied sciences, informatics, public administration, social welfare, and sociology taught by an extensive roster of faculty experts. It also offers expanded academic and research opportunities for students through an affiliation with Albany Law School. With a curriculum enhanced by 600 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers.