UM-Flint honors graduates during Spring 2022 Commencement

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The University of Michigan-Flint celebrated the Class of 2022 during six historic ceremonies this weekend. UM-Flint Chancellor Deba Dutta emphasized the momentous achievement of these graduates in his remarks. "Your college years are a part of history that will be recounted, analyzed, and learned from for many years to come. You have been challenged in ways pre-COVID graduates have not," Dutta said.

The weekend's ceremonies were divided between schools and colleges and livestreamed for those unable to attend. Following the latest campus health guidelines, each graduate was able to bring four guests to their ceremony. Dutta acknowledged the essential role friends and family play in the success of students, stating that "Your family made the right decision, making the sacrifices they did to keep you focused on your education."

Graduate posing with her mother.
Commencement served as the perfect opportunity for graduates to celebrate with family.

Keep reading to see highlights from a weekend devoted to the amazing students who earned their degrees from UM-Flint this semester.

Student speakers

The speeches given by student speakers were a special part of each ceremony, reflecting on years of study and looking forward to a lifetime of opportunity. Below are highlights from each speaker.

Emily Jackson: College of Health Sciences

Emily Jackson
Jackson earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences.

"As we continue to grow and learn as health science graduates, we will confront situations that force us to think in terms not simply of black and white, right or wrong. Thus we should strive to find beauty in the gray areas, and revel in the complexities that make healthcare an art."

School of Education & Human Services: Chrissandra Padilla

Chrissandra Padilla speaking at the podium
Padilla earned a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Studies.

"Look at the graduates seated around you. They, like you, faced doubt and fear. But when facing doubt, they found courage. And when facing fear, they were able to continue. I was determined to get the best education possible, so I stayed the course and worked fervently toward my goals – as did all of you. With each semester we met new challenges and surpassed expectations."

School of Management: Aaron Fogelsonger

Aaron Fogelsonger
Fogelsonger earned a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship & Innovation Management.

"Every day I tell my kids to 'change their world,' because I want to remind them that every day, no matter their situation, they have opportunities to change their path and make the world their own. So I decided to follow my advice, set an example for my kids, and made [graduating from college] a priority."

School of Nursing: Hillary Beeckman

Hillary Beeckman
Beeckman graduated from the Accelerated Second Degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.

"I had considered a career in healthcare when I first went to college, but the pandemic really inspired me to go back to school and pursue nursing. This is one of the few professions where you can be there for someone's happiest moments, and also their worst. I don't take any of my responsibilities as a future nurse lightly, and I know we all want to do our absolute best to care for patients and help our communities."

College of Arts & Sciences: Brooke Fogg

Brooke Fogg
Fogg earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

"I would like to share with you three of the greatest lessons I have learned and fought hard to implement throughout my own life. One, keep on going. There were times when I didn't feel like I was winning, but I was…Two, don't hide from your mistakes. Allow them to help you grow, just as much as your successes….Three, never stop learning. Successful people are those who adapt to any changes that come their way and keep going."

College of Arts & Sciences: Nicole-Kristine Smith

Nicole-Kristine Smith
Nicole-Kristine earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology

"During my time here, I realized that this school was built for people like us. For the parents, first-generation students, immigrants, the students who had to work through college. On top of normal college student responsibilities, we had to fight for our education and our passions. And that's what makes us unbreakable."

President Coleman looks forward

Mary Sue Coleman on video

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman offered her congratulations via video to graduates. While taking time to recognize their achievements, Coleman didn't hesitate in urging graduates to do good in the world with their degrees.

"The hard work isn't over, because we expect much of Michigan graduates," Coleman said. "Communities in Genesee County, around the state, and throughout the country await your skills, expertise, and creativity. I have no doubt you will contribute much to improving our world."

Click to watch Dr. Coleman's message to graduates. Press "f" for fullscreen.

Graduate profiles

Prior to the weekend's events, the Class of 2022 could submit student profiles on The submissions offered graduates a chance to reflect on their favorite UM-Flint memories, share their plans to celebrate, and shout out any student clubs in which they participated. We've included a few of the submissions here, see the full listing on the webpage.

Matthew Washington

Matthew Washington
School of Management, Master of Science in Leadership & Organizational Dynamics

"As a Flint native, I chose to return to UM-Flint to be the change I wanted to see in this community. The UM-Flint School of Management equipped me with the great tools I needed to help build a professional basketball organization in the city of Flint."

Katelyn Stuck

Katelyn Stuck
College of Arts & Sciences, Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies

"I owe it to the University of Michigan-Flint for sculpting me into the person and professional I am today. Thank you to my family, friends, coworkers, and faculty members for your support. Go Blue!"

Mirajh Williams

Mirajh Williams
College of Arts & Sciences, Bachelor of Arts in English-Writing Specialization

"My time at UM-Flint was amazing. I have been supported, uplifted, and given constructive criticism, allowing me to flourish as a young woman and a writer."

Regents' message

Regent Michael J. Behm provided a message to graduates on behalf of the University of Michigan Board of Regents.

"I hope as you go out into the world, you remember the lessons Michigan has instilled in you, including searching for the potential in every opportunity and working to overcome roadblocks that may arise along the way," Behm shared.

Click to watch Regent Behm's message. Press "f" for fullscreen.

Social media

Commencement energy continued on social media as graduates, their families, and the university celebrated the newest alumni of UM-Flint.

The university also highlighted more graduates using the hashtag #umflintgrad. Be sure to use that hashtag in your own posts!

Video links

Each ceremony was livestreamed and is available on the UM-Flint Youtube channel. Click below to view.

Congratulations to the Class of 2022 – we can't wait to see what you'll accomplish next!

Logan McGrady is the marketing & digital communication manager for the Office of Marketing and Communication.