A group of University of Bridgeport graduates at Commencement ceremony
Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Saturday, May 18, 2019

at 2 p.m. in Marina Park


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Graduate Ceremony - Saturday, May 18, 2019 - 2 p.m.


Commencement is a truly joyous occasion; it is a day of celebration that represents the culmination of years of intellectual fortitude, intense focus, and countless cups of coffee. It is an opportunity for family, friends, and the many faculty and staff at the University of Bridgeport to applaud our graduates for their accomplishments.

Commencement will be moving back to the University’s campus after many years at an off-site venue, taking place at Marina Park, under a big top tent—in honor of Bridgeport legend, P.T. Barnum.

Commencement Speaker

Stacie L. Ropka, PhDStacie L. Ropka, PhD

Partner, Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP

Stacie L. Ropka, PhD, partner at Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, specializes in the practice of law with a focus on the Federal Drug Administration, intellectual property, and patents. Her multiple academic degrees, including a PhD in microbiology and immunology, an MBA, and a law degree, uniquely qualify her to advocate for clients in cases involving the billion dollar pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Ropka was one of eight to receive the 2018 Women in Business Award from the Hartford Business Journal, named in 2017 among Women Worth Watching in STEM® by the Profiles in Diversity Journal, and was named a finalist for the Connecticut Technology Council’s 2019 Women of Innovation.

Investing in her accomplished science career was Dr. Ropka’s focus for two decades, which included working as a researcher at Northwestern University and a member of the faculty at the State University of New York (SUNY). Her areas of research included the fields of neurology, virology, and immunology. The decision to go back to school and study law created the opportunity to repackage this depth of scientific knowledge for use in biologics-based technologies litigation. After earning her law degree in 2005, Dr. Ropka joined Lerner David, a New Jersey firm specializing in intellectual property. In 2007, Dr. Ropka joined the firm of Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider LLP, where she presently practices as a partner and member of the firm’s intellectual property group. She also volunteers with the Connecticut Technology Council to support women scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

Dr. Ropka received her BS, MS and MBA from DePaul University, her PhD with honors from SUNY Upstate Medical University, and her JD magna cum laude from Syracuse University College of Law. She is licensed to practice law in Connecticut, New Jersey, the US District Court District of New Jersey, and the US District Court District of Connecticut. Dr. Ropka maintains active memberships in the American Bar Association, The American Society for Microbiology, and The Antibody Society.

Commencement Rehearsal

At 3 p.m. on Thursday, May 16, 2019, graduate students must participate in a mandatory Commencement Ceremony rehearsal. Please convene at Wheeler Recreation Center. At the rehearsal, students will learn about the rules and procedures of the ceremony and practice walking across the stage. Names of participants will be read at rehearsal, allowing for review of pronunciation. Students will be provided with their “Reader’s Card” at rehearsal and must keep them until commencement.

Students will complete a “Graduate Exit Survey” so that we can learn more about your post-graduation plans, confirm your contact information, and gather important feedback about your experience at the University of Bridgeport.

At the rehearsal, students will receive their two inclement weather tickets for the Hubbell Gymnasium. More details about the indoor ticketing policy are below. Students who are unable to attend the rehearsal must pick up inclement weather tickets on Friday, May 17, 2019 from the bookstore.

Students may pick up their academic regalia at the campus bookstore beginning May 6, 2019 and throughout Grad Week, May 13-17, 2019.

Bookstore Hours

 Day   Dates  Time
 Monday   May 6 & 13   9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
 Tuesday   May 7 & 14   9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
 Wednesday   May 8 & 15   9 a.m. - 7 p.m. 
 Thursday   May 9 & 16   9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 
 Friday   May 10 & 17   9 a.m. - 8 p.m. 

Commencement Ceremony

Commencement participants must convene at Wheeler Recreation Center at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 18, 2019. The procession of commencement participants begins at 2 p.m.

Seating under the tent at Marina Park will be available on a first-come first-served basis beginning at 1:00 p.m. All party guests must be present to reserve a seat. For example, if you have 10 guests, all 10 must be present to reserve their seats. As a courtesy to other graduates and their families, we ask that all families respect this policy. Security will be onsite to enforce it as needed.

The University of Bridgeport will not allow weapons or alcohol on campus. Campus security will escort any guests and participants who appear to be intoxicated off the premises. Commencement participants may not wear clothing or devices with lights or reflective surfaces as it may interfere with the livestream feed.

Families should refrain from using large signs and loud noises throughout the duration of the ceremony as this could distract others from seeing their own commencement participant. No balloons are allowed under the tent as this may obstruct the view of guests and the livestream feed. The University reserves the right to seize any item deemed dangerous or a serious distraction to the ceremony.

Mandeville Hall, Rooms 104 and 107 will be available as off-site viewing locations for those unwilling/unable to sit outdoors.

The University will livestream the ceremony for those family and friends who are not able to celebrate in person. The link to the livestream will be available on Saturday, May 18, 2019 on the University of Bridgeport website(

Immediately following the Commencement Ceremony, we invite all graduates and their guests to a reception on the lawn at President Trombley’s residence, Waldemere Hall.

Inclement Weather Plan & Indoor Ticketing Policy

In the case of extreme weather, such as severe wind, thunder, lightning, or hail, the Commencement Ceremony will move indoors to Mertens Theater in the Arnold Bernhard Center (ABC), 84 Iranistan Avenue. At that time, the indoor ticketing policy will be in effect. Rain alone will not force the ceremony indoors.

At the Thursday Commencement Ceremony rehearsal, students will receive their two inclement weather tickets for the Hubbell Gymnasium. Students who are unable to attend the rehearsal must pick up inclement weather tickets on Friday, May 17, 2019 from the bookstore. The University will not replace lost or stolen tickets.

The weather call for the ceremony will be made at 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 18. Should the ceremony move indoors, the University will activate emergency response measures to communicate the decision via text, phone call, email, website, and social media.

Commencement participants must convene in the first floor of the ABC by 12:30 p.m. Only Commencement Ceremony participants will be allowed in Mertens Theater. No guests will be allowed into ABC.

Participants will each receive two tickets for guests to observe the ceremony at the Hubbell Gymnasium. Guests who do not present an indoor Commencement Ceremony ticket will not gain entrance into Hubbell Gymnasium. Campus Security will be onsite to enforce this policy.Additional seating will be available in these viewing locations on a first-come first-served basis:

  • Mandeville Hall, Rooms 104 and 107
  • Charles Dana Hall, Room 107

Guests of participants should report directly to these locations should the ceremony be moved indoors due to inclement weather. There will be no reception at the President’s residence if the indoor ticketing policy is in effect.

Important Considerations

Graduates may wish to wear flats as the procession and recession will cross the grass, which could be soft from rain. In the case of inclement weather, you may wish to wear casual clothes beneath your robe and carry an umbrella. Please dress appropriately for conditions.

Only the graduate will be allowed to walk across the stage during the Commencement Ceremony. Children or other guests, will not be permitted on stage for safety and liability reasons.

Smoking/Alcohol—Smoking is strictly prohibited except for designated outdoor locations. Alcohol may not be brought on site.

Prohibited Items— The following items are prohibited from Marina Park: outside food and beverages, chains, weapons, laser pointers, aerosol cans, illegal substances, animals, beach balls, inflatables, bull horns or noise makers, fireworks, and signs with sticks.