Members of the Class of 2015 celebrate as they prepare for the processional.

Commencement thoughts

Students, faculty enjoy pomp, circumstance of Commencement 2015


4:57 p.m., May 30, 2015--Fixing their caps and carefully arranging their academic regalia before the processional march, University of Delaware graduates and faculty members shared their thoughts on what Commencement means to them. 

Gregory Capriotti, a mechanical engineering major from Vineland, New Jersey, said, “Being here today is pretty surreal. It hasn’t really hit me yet, that I’m not going to be seeing many of these kids again, kids I’ve become friends with over the last four years. UD has been great for me, and I can’t thank this school and my parents enough for being where I am today.”

Campus Stories

From graduates, faculty

As it neared time for the processional to open the University of Delaware Commencement ceremonies, graduating students and faculty members shared their feelings about what the event means to them.

Doctoral hooding

It was a day of triumph, cheers and collective relief as more than 160 students from 21 nations participated in the University of Delaware's Doctoral Hooding Convocation held Friday morning on The Green.

Andrew Moore, a biological sciences major from Camden, Delaware, said, “It just doesn’t feel real. It’s been a long journey, but I’m not quite done yet. I’m staying at UD to get my master’s in molecular biology and genetics.”

Moore, who hopes to work in the biotechnology field, praised UD for having great resources in his particular discipline.  “This helped me get to where I am today. I’m looking forward to using these resources and moving out into the world.”

Neil Hartigan, an English major from Dover, Delaware, said that while he was sad to be leaving the University and his friends, he also is looking forward to his new opportunities.

“I will be working for Teach For America, teaching third or fourth grade students in North Carolina,” Hartigan said. “Teach For America is a good program and I like kids and people, so this should work out just fine for me.” 

Jonathan Justice, associate professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration, said he took pleasure in attending the ceremonies. “I enjoy doing this. It’s a lot of fun and a joy for parents and students.”

David A. Edwards, professor of mathematical sciences, said, “I think it speaks well for the faculty and the University. I do it every year. It’s a special day, and kind of puts a cap on the whole thing. The students really appreciate it, too.”

Anne Biggs Sanger, a biomedical engineering major from Wilmington, Delaware, said, “Being here is very exciting. UD is a really good school. I plan to travel, and was invited to visit Israel this summer by my neighbors.”

Michelle Paukett, a double major in animal and food science and agribusiness marketing and management, said, “I am also excited to be here, but I will miss the many friends I made at UD.”

Sheng Zhu, a computer science major, said, “It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to the next step in my life. I like the environment here and the phenomenon of the whole UD experience.” 

Chen Peng, also a computer science major, said, “It’s nice to be here. I want to find a job coding for right now. I like it here.  I’ve met some really great professors, including Paul Amer (Alumni Distinguished Professor of Computer and Information Sciences) and Errol Lloyd (professor and chair of the Department of Computer and Information Sciences).” 

Kendell Daughtry, a human development major from Philadelphia, said, “It took me just over eight years to get here while working and taking care of my family. Our first child, Jaycen, was born eight years ago, and my wife Shenise and I are expecting our second child later this summer. I was able to do all of these things through prayer, a great support system and having good friends and my family helping out. 

“I’m going to graduate school at UD to get a master’s in nonprofit leadership and eventually go into campus ministry. It has been great being able to meet so many people and to be able to touch their lives.”  

Frank Murray, H. Rodney Sharp Professor of Educational Studies and Psychology, said, “I came out today because I have a doctoral student graduating. This will be my last Commencement, as I am retiring after 46 years. I enjoy the festive atmosphere and the enthusiasm of the students for what they have accomplished. It’s a great time for families and friends, too.” 

Related stories and resources

• UD held its 166th Commencement ceremony on Saturday morning.
• Follow the conversation on social media by checking out the Storify site.
• For videos about Commencement, see the University’s YouTube channel.
Honorary degrees were presented to five outstanding individuals.
Outstanding seniors and alumni were an important part of the Commencement processional.
• Eight high index seniors were honored.
• A doctoral hooding ceremony was held on Friday morning.
• The UD Honors Program held a celebratory breakfast on Friday morning.
• Read the remarks by Commencement speaker David DeWalt.

Article by Jerry Rhodes

Photos by Doug Baker

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