University to hold virtual commencement on May 16

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will award more than 3,400 degrees in a virtual ceremony on Sunday, May 16.

The ceremony will go live on YouTube at 10 a.m. May 16. At that time, the link will become available on UWM’s graduation page.

The university will present 2,377 bachelor’s degrees, 731 master’s degrees, 143 doctoral degrees, 36 flexible option degrees and 135 associate degrees. The oldest degree bachelor’s degree recipient is 73, while the youngest is 19. The oldest associate degree recipient is 57; the youngest is 19.

Student Association President Emma Mae Weber, who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree from the College of Letters & Science, will be the student speaker.

Commencement speaker will be Darian Dixon, a UWM alum who plays a key role on NASA’s $3 billion Perseverance rover, which landed on Mars in February. Dixon, who earned his undergraduate degree in geological sciences in 2015, Dixon is Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z data management lead. His duties involve guiding the two Mastcam-Z cameras, which are part of the rover’s array of nearly two dozen cameras. They’re capturing panoramic stills to help scientists learn more about the planet’s atmosphere, landscape and soils.

Dixon is passionate about inspiring other students to follow their dreams, especially students of color. He encourages them to pursue careers in the STEM-related fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

“We’re exploring the final frontier. It’s something that fills our hearts with awe and wonder,” Dixon says. “I don’t think you can put a price on that. You just get to look up and be happy that you are part of something that is much bigger than humanity.”

For more about Dixon, check out this story. (Note: Dixon’s speech has already been recorded. It is available under embargo upon request by contacting John Schumacher. The clip cannot be used until after 10 a.m. May 16.)

UWM will award honorary degrees to Robert W. Henderson, curator emeritus of herpetology at the Milwaukee Public Museum; David J. Lubar, president and CEO of Lubar & Co.; and Jere D. McGaffey, retired partner of Foley & Lardner.


The numbers of degrees awarded by UWM schools and colleges are below. The numbers include bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral, associate and flex degrees.

College of Letters and Science: 866

Lubar School of Business: 614

College of Health Sciences: 309

School of Education: 257

College of Engineering & Applied Science: 253

College of Nursing: 217

Peck School of the Arts: 212

Helen Bader School of Social Welfare: 203

School of Information Studies: 201

College of General Studies: 135

School of Architecture & Urban Planning: 87

Zilber School of Public Health: 38

School of Freshwater Sciences: 16

Global Studies Interdisciplinary: 11

Joint Programs L&S and CEAS: 2