UAlbany Celebrates Class of 2024

By Mike Nolan

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 14, 2024) — The University at Albany’s new graduates have officially joined the ranks of more than 200,000 alumni worldwide after a series of commencement events, highlighted by individual stage crossings and the University-wide outdoor undergraduate ceremony.

More than 4,650 students in the Class of 2024 were celebrated during UAlbany’s 180th commencement festivities, which stretched from Thursday, May 9, through Sunday, May 12. Among the graduates were an estimated 2,934 undergraduates and 1,719 graduate students, including recipients who completed their degrees last summer and fall as well as over the winter. 

View the “2024 Commencement Week Highlights" photo collection.


UAlbany Celebrates Class of 2024


On Thursday and Friday, undergraduate students were individually recognized throughout each day in small groups with their guests at school/college-based stage crossings at the Broadview Center, a 3,800-seat multi-purpose arena that’s home to the UAlbany men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Following the undergraduate stage crossings on Friday, UAlbany hosted its Baccalaureate Torch Reception at the Lecture Center Concourse on the Uptown Campus, overlooking the Main Fountain. One of UAlbany’s longest-standing commencement traditions, the event honored the Class of 2024 as they passed the torch to the rising Class of 2025.

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.

Actress Nora Lum (Awkwafina) stands with President Rodriguez on stage at the 2024 undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Actress Nora Lum '11, known professionally as Awkwafina, stands with President Rodriguez on stage after receiving an honorary degree.

“For 180 years — since 1844 — UAlbany has been turning talented, driven students into globally engaged citizens. This year’s class is no exception,” Rodríguez told the graduates. “Yes, we know, you are graduating into an imperfect world. But all of the things that make this class uniquely special – your resilience, your values, your empathy, your thirst for understanding — will serve you well as you work toward greatness.”

Actress Nora Lum, ’11 (known professionally as Awkwafina) and novelist, essayist and playwright Caryl Phillips received honorary doctorate degrees, officially conferred by President Rodríguez. 

David Rousseau, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Rockefeller College, and David Smith, professor and chair of the Department of Finance at the Massry School of Business, received Collins Awards, which recognize teaching faculty who have shown extraordinary devotion to the University over a sustained period of time. 

Megan Van Vort delivers her speech during the 2024 undergraduate commencement ceremony.
Student speaker Megan Van Vort delivers her commencement speech to 2024 grads.

The Class of 2024 student speaker was Megan Van Vort, outgoing president of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program. Van Vort, a dual major in psychology and Spanish, has been admitted to UAlbany’s graduate program in mental health counseling.

“I, along with many of you, have been counting down to this day, and now that it’s here I would do anything to start all over again,” said Van Vort, while addressing her classmates. “I have two challenges for you all today. My first challenge is to take a moment to reflect on these past few years and think about your accomplishments… My second challenge is to keep adding to this list and leave space so that it can grow as you grow. Challenge yourself to take what you’ve learned here at UAlbany and share it with the world.”

Following the University-wide ceremony, a doctoral stage crossing and hooding celebration took place in Broadview Center, where PhD recipients were individually recognized in front of family, friends and faculty. The stage crossings for master’s degree and graduate certificate recipients took place on Sunday at the Broadview Center.

UAlbany also hosted several special recognition ceremonies, including the Lavender Celebration, honoring the achievements of graduating LGBTQ+ students and their supporters, hosted by the Gender & Sexuality Resource Center, and an international celebration, hosted by the Center for International Education and Global Strategy.

Photos by Patrick Dodson, Brian Busher and Joe Putrock