Students from all Walks of Life and Around the Country Travelled to Tucson to Celebrate
CHANDLER, Ariz., May 26, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- The University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) welcomed more than 1,000 graduates and 5,000 guests to McKale Memorial CenterMay 22 on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson for the first in-person Commencement ceremony since becoming UAGC in December 2020 and since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In all, the UAGC spring 2022 graduate total, whether they attended the Commencement or not, was 5,673.
In all, the UAGC spring 2022 graduate total, whether they attended the Commencement or not, was 5,673.
UAGC graduates reside in all 50 states and around the world in Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liberia, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates. The average age of all graduates is 46 years old; the youngest is 21 years old; and the oldest graduate is 71 years old. UAGC students come from all walks of life, with many facing challenges and adversity on their path to a higher education.
Angela Rivers from St. Cloud, FL, walked the UAGC Commencement stage to receive her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Instruction. Living with a learning disability and short-term memory loss since she was a child, many around her said she'd be lucky to get a technical degree someday, if she'd get one at all. Fortunately, Angela chose to listen to those who supported and encouraged her.
"I want to be like some of the teachers I had and help others overcome their challenges," Rivers said. "I chose UAGC because I felt supported and understood from my first conversation with an enrollment advisor. I could tell early on that UAGC was going to have my back and help me to succeed – and they did. And now, with my master's degree, I'm going to be able to pursue my dream of developing curriculum for a wildlife conservation education program. If you work hard, anything is possible."
Kenneth Ferguson, from Raleigh, NC, believes that same philosophy. He spent his childhood in and out of foster care. Some people told him he wouldn't amount to much. "Growing up in foster care is a whole lot of emotions," Ferguson, who's getting his MBA, said the day before the UAGC Commencement.
"It was a good training ground to get me prepared for who I wanted to be. Some said I wouldn't make it to 18 years old. Others, like the coaches I had playing sports, made me feel like I was part of a family and could be whoever I wanted to be. I got a similar feeling at UAGC."
"I loved the encouragement I received here and enjoyed having advisors I could call and talk about my classes. That support system got me to this moment and made me realize that I don't just want a seat at the table. I want to build my own table and help others build theirs, too," Ferguson said.
Mauri Garcia of Phoenix, AZ, will be a first-generation college graduate. She comes from a long line of ancestors who faced adversity and discrimination as they tried to make their way in a new country. Garcia's ancestry has inspired her to want to give back. "The best way to show up for your community is through education, to realize that I'm not powerless, but can make a difference."
Garcia, who's getting her Bachelor of Arts in Social and Criminal Justice, said she suffered from imposter syndrome until she attended UAGC. "I had so many inspiring instructors who saw more in me than what I saw in myself. There were times I didn't believe in myself and my instructors helped me build my confidence. I'm a different person now from when I started. I feel more empowered now. It's important for me to share my story, because I want to lift others as I climb."
Frederick Drew Gregory, a former NASA astronaut and former NASA deputy administrator, delivered the Commencement address, urging graduates to challenge themselves every day. "Do something tomorrow that you thought was impossible yesterday," Gregory said. "Getting a degree is a personal choice. Horizons will open by having that education, and it's unlimited as to what you can learn in that educational environment."
Editor's note: Interviews can be arranged with Angela, Kenneth and Mauri to learn more about their experiences attending and graduating from the University of Arizona Global Campus. To schedule an interview, please contact Linda Robertson, Director of University Communications, at email@example.com.
About University of Arizona Global Campus
The University of Arizona Global Campus (UAGC) is an independent university that is operated in affiliation with the University of Arizona. UAGC is designed to provide flexible opportunities for working students from diverse backgrounds who seek to gain knowledge and skills that will help them to achieve their life and career goals. UAGC is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and is one of the nation's most innovative online universities with approximately 27,000 students. UAGC offers more than 50 degrees at the associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. For more information visit uagc.edu.
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SOURCE University of Arizona Global Campus