Celebrating the 2012 Spring Graduates

May 10, 2012

The UA will celebrate the achievements of graduating students and prominent supporters of the institution during its Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 11-12.

University of Arizona President Eugene G. Sander will preside over the 146th Commencement, conferring degrees upon undergraduate and graduate students during two ceremonies at McKale Memorial Center. 

The ceremony for master's and doctoral students will be held on May 11 at 7:30 p.m. On May 12, the ceremony for undergraduate students will be at 9 a.m.  

Graduating seniors who wish to participate in the ceremony are invited to RSVP for themselves and their guests.

In the University's efforts to maximize the number of seats available for guests, students are encouraged to RSVP online. The RSVP system will provide the Commencement Operations Team an estimate of the number of students attending as well as the number of guests each student will be bringing.

Every undergraduate student who wishes to participate in the University-wide ceremony will be provided a ticket. Tickets are for students only. Guests will not need tickets; seating will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

From May 1-11, students who have reserved for commencement may pick up their tickets at the following convenient and accessible campus locations during regular hours:

  • The Information Desk at the Student Union Memorial Center
  • UA Main BookStore at the Student Union Memorial Center
  • UA BookStore at the Arizona Health Sciences Center

A total of 4,206 undergraduate student degrees will be conferred, plus 882 master's degrees and 298 doctoral degrees along with five Scientiae Juridicae Doctor degrees, four educational specialist degrees, 34 graduate certificates and 96 doctor of pharmacy degrees. 144 students will be conferred as doctors in medicine. 

Also, 139 students will graduate with Juris Doctor degrees, six students will graduate with Master of Laws in Indigenous Peoples' Law and Policy degrees and eight students will graduate with a Master of Laws in International Trade Law.


The UA will confer honorary degrees upon four individuals who have contributed greatly to the University.

Sérgio Assad is a world-renowned classical guitarist, composer and teacher who has greatly impacted the modern classical guitar world through brilliant performances, compositions and teachings. He regularly performs at the UA and enriches the careers of University students with compositions, performances and teaching.

Harry A. George has more than 38 years of experience in founding, operating and investing in successful rapid growth technology-related companies. He co-founded Solstice Capital in 1995 and is active in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship in Southern Arizona.

Emily Meschter, who after a very successful career in finance and on Wall Street, turned her attention to philanthropy with a long and distinguished record supporting early education, elementary and higher education in the Tucson region.

Margaret Wilch has worked as a biology teacher at Tucson High Magnet School for the last 20 years. Her efforts focus on exposing high school students to authentic scientific research opportunities in collaboration with UA faculty in the College of Science and with plant sciences and entomology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  

Six students also will be recognized during the ceremony with the UA's Freeman Medals, Robie Medals and Nugent Awards. These medals are awarded to outstanding UA students whose contributions and co-curricular activities and leadership have a positive impact on the University.

Aeen Asghar and Alice Cai both honors students will be awarded with Nugent Awards, honors student Ella Starobinska and Jovan Ruvalcaba will be honored with Robie Medals and Hanna Renee Henson and honors student Aubri Carman will receive Freeman Medals.

Ceremony Details

The UA's Dr. Peter Rhee and Brian Schmidt, a UA alumnus and a winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics, will speak during this year's graduation ceremonies. Schmidt also will be conferred with a UA honorary degree.

As part of the commencement tradition of UA students giving back to the community, students are asked to participate in a community food drive and bring a canned food items to their staging location to donate on Saturday morning.

Commencement is a formal celebration of academic achievement. Students must wear their cap and gown in order to be allowed onto the ceremony floor and must conduct themselves in a professional manner throughout the ceremony. The ceremony is open to friends and family members of the graduating students.

The academic procession into McKale begins at 9 a.m. on May 12. Undergraduate students must assemble with others from their college or department at Bear Down Gym at the following staging locations:

Bear Down Gym: Architecture; Center for Latin American Studies; Education; Eller; Engineering; Fine Arts; Nursing; Optical Science; Physiology; Public Health and Science. 

Ina Gittings Gym: Social and Behavioral Sciences. 

Richard Jefferson Gym: College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Humanities.

Each college also hosts a separate celebration for its graduates in the days before commencement.