U of A Graduates Set to 'Walk' in May Commencement Ceremonies

Spring 2018 All University Commencement procession.
Photo Submitted

Spring 2018 All University Commencement procession.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A total of 4,510 University of Arkansas students are planning to attend the 2019 Spring Commencement ceremonies on May 10-11 and May 18. The number of students attending Spring Commencement has grown by 67 percent since 2012, when the Fall Commencement ceremony was re-instated.  

The largest number of students attending commencement will be undergraduates – 3,557 are planning to “walk” during the six undergraduate commencement ceremonies. So far 844 graduate students have said they will attend the All University Commencement, with another 109 indicating they will be there for the School of Law ceremony on May 18.

“This is a great day for our students, their families, the university and the state of Arkansas,” said Chancellor Joe Steinmetz. “Many of our graduates will start their careers after graduation right here in Arkansas, whichever state they are originally from. Some will start their own businesses here, now or in the future. Their talent, education and ability to work hard and well will enrich this state – and the communities where they work.

“It’s good to remember that the graduating students who will ‘walk’ during these ceremonies come from all ‘walks’ of life. We have graduates whose parents and grandparents are U of A alumni; we have graduates who are the first in their family to attend college. Some were born and lived all their lives in Arkansas; others had never been near the state until they came to this campus. In fact, some earned their degrees without ever coming to campus – except online. Our students come from all economic levels, from every county in the state, from nearly every state in the country – and from many different countries, as well. They all worked very hard to earn their degrees, they all made sacrifices to succeed, they all had help and support from people who loved them, and we hope that they all found a home here at the University of Arkansas. And when they have received their degrees they will all have a permanent place on Senior Walk.”

online graduates

The number of students earning their degrees or certificates exclusively online has also been steadily increasing. They may not have physically attended classes on campus, but their bond to the U of A is still strong: 277 of this year’s online graduates are planning to attend a Spring Commencement ceremony.

Nicole Johnson is one of them. She has a dozen years of experience in supply chain management and worked full time while earning her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in General Business online from the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Earlier this month, the college recognized her as the 2019 “outstanding student” in the program. She definitely plans to walk during the Walton College ceremony May 11.

“I’ve worked really hard for this,” Johnson said. “I’m the first in my family to earn a bachelor’s degree. The only way I could finish the degree was online.

“Without a degree, you’re just not looked at seriously,” she added. “Earning the degree opens up a lot of opportunity for me, both with my current employer and with future employers.

“I feel proud to have a degree from the University of Arkansas. I always had people to help and support me. I look forward to seeing my name on Senior Walk.”


All ceremonies will be livestreamed on the University of Arkansas YouTube Channel.

Friday, May 10

3 p.m., Bud Walton Arena

Speaker: Anna Frances, a senior majoring in communication and minoring in social work.

Saturday, May 11

8:30 a.m., Bud Walton Arena

Honorary degree recipients: Al Bell and W. “Chris” Hinton-Lee

Speaker: Chris Hinton-Lee

Noon, Barnhill Arena

Speaker: Pam McGinnis, president, global marketing, at Phillips 66

1 p.m. Bud Walton Arena

Speaker: Mary Harmon, Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting 1976; managing director and head of the Tax Planning Group, Goldman Sachs, retired.

1 p.m. Faulkner Performing Arts Center

Speaker: Billy Fleming, B.L.A.’11; Wilks Family Director for the Ian L. McHarg Center at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design

3:30 p.m. Barnhill Arena

Speakers: Outstanding Alumnus, Arthur Neal, M.S. agricultural economics, ’99; deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Federal Grain Inspecting Service, which is under the Agricultural Marketing Service.. Outstanding Young Alumna, Mandy Kordsmeier, B.S.H.E.S. apparel merchandising and product development,’08; vice president of business development for national accounts for U.S. manufacturer Orian Rugs.

5:30 p.m.Bud Walton Arena

Speaker: Dominique Scott, B.S.B.A. marketing ’15; professional athlete; holds six track records at the U of A. Founded The Dom Squad, an educational running program targeting middle school girls and the local initiative, “NWA Runners Unite.”

Saturday, May 18

  • School of Law                                                                        

2 p.m. Fayetteville Town Center

Speaker: Regina Hopper, Emmy Award-winning former network news correspondent, is currently senior vice president of global public policy for GRIDSMART Technologies.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Steve Voorhies, manager of media relations
University Relations
479-575-3583, voorhies@uark.edu


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