UAlbany Celebrates Class of 2023
By Mike Nolan
ALBANY, N.Y. (May 16, 2023) — UAlbany’s new graduates have officially joined the ranks of more than 197,000 alumni worldwide after a series of commencement events, highlighted by the University-wide outdoor undergraduate ceremony and individual stage crossings.
More than 4,700 students were celebrated during Commencement 2023 festivities, which stretched from Thursday, May 11, through Sunday, May 14. Among the graduates were an estimated 3,015 undergraduates and 1,687 graduate students, including summer, fall and winter semester degree recipients.
On Thursday and Friday, undergraduate students were individually recognized throughout each day in small groups with their guests at school/college-based stage crossings in the Campus Center and Science Library on the Uptown Campus.
On Saturday, the University-wide undergraduate ceremony was held at the Entry Plaza lawn on the Uptown Campus. Graduates were greeted with remarks by President Rodríguez, U.S. Sen Chuck Schumer and a number of other University leaders.
“You have all contributed greatly to this University, and I know you will achieve great things in your chosen professions, in your communities, and as engaged global citizens,” Rodríguez told the graduates. “On behalf of everyone on this stage, and every member of our UAlbany family — it has been our greatest honor to be part of your journey.”
This year’s undergraduate commencement speaker was actor and director DB Woodside ’91, best known for his television roles in hit series such as “24,” “Lucifer,” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The Class of 2023 student speaker was Labika Baral, an Honors College student majoring in human biology and who has been admitted to the Albany Medical College Early Assurance MD Program for Fall 2024.
“Use your power, your voice, your authenticity to shape the world that you want to live in. After all, this is your world now. This is your country now. Let no one diminish you,” Woodside told the graduates. “Be agents of change for the country that you want to live in. Be bold on this, your greatest adventure, be bold for the life that you want. Whether that’s a big life, or a small, quiet life. Be bold.”
“No matter when we next meet, know that when things get hard, you will have me and everyone else here today rooting for you forever,” Baral said. “I hope your coming path is filled with great happiness that you could have never imagined. No one can keep the good person down. So, take a deep breath. You got this.”
Jürgen Popp, a world-renowned spectroscopist and scientific director of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology, received an honorary degree, officially conferred by President Rodríguez. Popp has made important scientific connections between spectroscopic techniques and their translation into clinically applicable methods. He was one of the first researchers to recognize the unique potential of vibrational spectroscopy and the efficacy of Raman spectroscopy in solving biomedical problems.
Following Saturday’s ceremony, a doctoral stage crossing and hooding celebration took place in Campus Center, where recipients were individually recognized in front of family, friends and faculty to honor this significant accomplishment. The stage crossings for master’s degree and graduate certificate recipients took place on Sunday in the Campus Center and Science Library.
Several special recognition ceremonies were also held during the week, including the Lavender Celebration on Wednesday, honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ+ students and their supporters, and an international celebration on Thursday, hosted by International Student and Scholar Services.
Photos by Brian Busher and Patrick Dodson