The University of Indianapolis held the inaugural December Commencement Ceremony on Saturday before a capacity crowd in Ransburg Auditorium.
Nearly 260 students graduated from the University in December, including 203 undergraduates, 50 graduate and 4 doctoral students. The total number of University of Indianapolis graduates for 2017 (May and December combined) stands at nearly 1,700 students from 24 countries, with 1,235 undergraduates, nearly 500 graduate and doctoral students, and 136 graduates at international partner sites.
President Rob L. Manuel encouraged graduates to seek balance, truth and engagement in their lives through creativity and passion. He also emphasized the importance of humor, humility and community when facing new challenges.
“I’ve seen the growth in your world views and your ability to engage with the most pressing questions of our time and to care for others in the process. I hope that in your time here, you learned not only what you want to be, but who you want to be,” Manuel said.
The ceremony included a full academic procession, musical performances by University faculty and the National Anthem performed by Kyleigh (Randolph) Hernandez ’17, (music education).
Congressman Andre Carson (D-IN) delivered the keynote address. He noted that it was a day of new beginnings and opportunities.
“The degree you’ll receive today is physical proof of the skills you’ve developed at the University of Indianapolis. It truly is an American commitment to better yourselves that will set the course for the rest of your lives. All of you had the determination and hope that you would succeed and that’s what’s central to making this country great,” Carson said.
Carson urged graduates to follow their passion. “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive,” he said. “It’s important that you continue to carry your mantels of success not only for yourselves but for your loved ones. By doing so you remain true to yourself and to those who love you the most.”
Jason Marshall, Indianapolis Student Government president, also served as a featured speaker. President Manuel credited Marshall and other student government leaders for their work in organizing the December Commencement Ceremony, which marks a new University tradition.
“We all have the capabilities and power to pursue our goals, to be successes in each of our individual endeavors – and how lucky we are to have obtained not only a degree, but a degree from the University of Indianapolis,” Marshall said.
President Manuel urged graduates to be confident in their professional pursuits.
“Believe that you belong at the table where the most critical decisions are being made about our collective realities. You have a unique world perspective and a unique set of skills to employ in solving those issues,” he said.
He also encouraged new alumni to stay connected with the UIndy family.
“You’re not just a graduate from UIndy. You’re now and forever a part of our story,” Manuel said.