2024 commencement ceremonies

Learning to Fly – University of Bridgeport Celebrates Soaring Horizons in 114th Commencement Ceremonies

On Saturday, May 4, 2024, University of Bridgeport (UB) hosted its commencement ceremonies at the Hartford Healthcare Amphitheater in Bridgeport, CT. The clouds gave way to bright, sunny skies, and the weekend rain held off as UB honored more than 1,200 graduates at its 114 commencement ceremonies. A crowd of family, friends, and UB faculty and staff looked on as UB welcomed its newest class of graduates into its global network of proud alumni.

In back-to-back ceremonies, undergraduate and then graduate students made their way across the stage to accept their diplomas. In total, 500 undergraduate degrees and more than 700 graduate-level degrees were conferred. Both ceremonies opened with a processional performed by UB Steel, the University’s steel drum band, after which a choir of faculty, staff, and students performed the National Anthem.

In her opening remarks, President Danielle Wilken acknowledged the remarkable achievements of the graduating class of 2024. She commended them for their commitment to active listening and civil discourse, particularly at a time when college campuses face many challenges. She declared that the UB class of 2024 stood out as a model of civility and respect, a testament to their character and the values their faculty and staff instilled at UB. Drawing from her personal and professional experiences, Wilken asked the class of 2024 to look ahead to their futures and encouraged them not to be afraid to fly.

Following opening remarks offered by President Wilken, along with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (undergraduate only), Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim (undergraduate only), CT State Senator Herron Gaston (graduate only), and Board of Trustees Chair Ann B. Clark, the student speakers addressed their graduating classes.

In her undergraduate address, Karen Nineth Garza, a first-generation college graduate who graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering, challenged her peers to live their futures to their fullest while continually reflecting on their memories of UB that will stick with them forever.

In her graduate address, Oluwademilade Iretomiwa Faloye, who graduated with a Master of Science in Analytics and Systems, spoke of the gift of memory and the ability to know when one is making special memories. She echoed President Wilken’s message of looking forward by encouraging her peers to see this occasion as a new beginning and live their futures with a sense of purpose, integrity, and humility.

Following the undergraduate student speaker address, UB alumni and Doctor of Humane Letters recipient Robert Padula congratulated the class of 2024. Padula encouraged the graduates before him to always give back to their communities as they live out their lives as UB alumni.

Renowned civil rights attorney Benjamin L. Crump received an honorary degree and delivered the commencement address at both ceremonies. In an impassioned, fiery speech, Mr. Crump encouraged the graduating class of 2024 not to be spectators in life but to jump into the arena and do something for someone — because, he emphasized, today’s graduates are the greatest hope for our future.

The day’s remarks formed a unified message for UB’s graduates — the future is yours to embrace, yet as you spread your wings and learn to soar, don’t forget to uplift those around you. Inviting the students to step forward into their future, Provost Dr. Manyul Im presented the degree candidates, after which President Wilken proudly conferred their degrees. To close the day’s ceremonies, William Moran, a 2024 Golden Knight, welcomed the 2024 graduating class into UB’s newest alumni class. Participants joined in the Alma Mater performed by the commencement choir, after which UB Steel ended the commencement ceremonies with its closing recessional.

For more information about University of Bridgeport’s commencement ceremonies and full video recordings of the events, visit www.bridgeport.edu/commencement.