Colleges and schools held small, in-person gatherings to honor their grads
After more than a year of working remotely, students in the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University were finally able to see some of their fellow graduates and faculty members on Wednesday, May 5.
About 300 graduates attended the college’s walk-through celebration, which ran all day on the Downtown Phoenix campus. About a dozen professors cheered and waved noisemakers as each graduate received a diploma, walked across the stage and had their photo taken before heading down a red carpet to a balloon-filled courtyard for cookies.
Thomacita Begay, who earned a degree in exercise and wellness, was grateful.
“I’m just very thankful we got this opportunity to get some kind of experience and to be able to walk,” said Begay, a member of the Navajo Nation who will return to ASU for a master’s degree in exercise and wellness.
“I want to work with our native youth and work for our Native American community, so I can give back to my family.”
MORE DOWNTOWN: Celebrating what is, not what isn't, at Watts College
Begay, who earned an associate degree from Mesa Community College, transferred to ASU just before the pandemic forced classes to be taught remotely.
“I think the best part of being at ASU was being able to meet my professors and even though we weren’t able to see each other in person, I still got to connect with them virtually and I still got to learn as much as I could from them.”
College of Health Solutions faculty pose for a quick group photo at the walk-through graduation celebration on May 5 in the Health North building on the downtown Phoenix campus. Faculty members came to celebrate the students' accomplishments and extend their best wishes.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Exercise and wellness graduate Thomacita Begay waits her turn to walk across the stage and take photos at the College of Health Solutions celebration. She'll return next fall to earn her master's degree.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Randy Bravo said he was grateful for the opportunity to connect in person to celebrate earning his degree.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
College of Health Solutions Dean Deborah Helitzer and other members of the faculty were equipped with pop poms and noisemakers to make a celebratory ruckus for each graduate who crossed the stage.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Summa cum laude graduates (from left) Jeremy Andia, Evan MIller and Niza Lodin pose for a group photo at the College of Health Solutions photo session. Andia earned his BS in medical studies and plans to study optometry. Miller earned her MS in health sciences and plans to go in to optometry and public health. Lodin earned his BS in medical studies and plans to pursue occupational therapy.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Arianna Robinson and her parents Lisa (left) and Covitis, and her canine companion, Koda, celebrated her earning her MS in science of health care delivery, a year after earning her bachelor's degree in global health, also at ASU.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
The college also held two small in-person events on Tuesday, May 4 — a hooding ceremony for doctoral students and a celebration for doctor of audiology graduates, who receive a white coat.
Deborah Helitzer, dean of the College of Health Solutions, told the audiology graduates that the college’s charter gives them direction and focus.
“It says that we bring people together to improve the health of the communities we serve, reaching them where they live, work, learn and play throughout the lifespan,” she said.
On Wednesday, Helitzer told ASU News that the pandemic health crisis has highlighted that mission for the students and faculty.
“The College of Health Solutions is all about the impact we can make for communities to improve their health. We definitely galvanized,” she said.
“A lot of our students volunteered with the vaccination effort. Hundreds of people tuned into our virtual talks. It’s really about having people on the outside see us as a resource.”
Randy Bravo attended Wednesday’s celebration to receive his master’s degree in the science of health care delivery. A year ago, he received his bachelor’s degree, when all of ASU’s graduation events were virtual.
“I’m really grateful they were able to give us the chance to walk across the stage this year,” said Bravo, who hopes to work in public health for a year before applying to medical school.
He said his favorite part of his time at ASU was forging connections with people.
“Meeting so many people from all walks of life and different backgrounds was the best thing about being at ASU.”
More Downtown Phoenix campus celebrations
Global management and sports business graduate Xi Ling poses with her country's flag at the hybrid Thunderbird celebration at the Arizona Center Grotto in downtown Phoenix on May 4.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News
Thunderbird School of Global Management Director General and Dean Sanjeev Khagram (left) poses for a photo with global management graduate Eden Burke during the hybrid Thunderbird celebration.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News
A small group of Thunderbird graduates takes a photo at their hybrid celebration, in front of a screen that allowed faculty, other students and friends and family to participate virtually.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News
Thunderbird School of Global Management graduates (from left) Eden Burke, Sebastian Wilkie and Vanessa Escamilla wave to their families, who were watching the celebration virtually.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News
International student Ana Paula Chavarry Pizzorno of Peru (right) and Dean Khagram show their pitchforks at the Thunderbird celebration.Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU News
Graduates line up for the Watts College of Public Service and Community Soultions in-person graduation celebration on May 3 in downtown Phoenix.Photo by Susan Wong/Arizona State University
Dean Jonathan Koppell takes a graduation selfie during the Watts College celebration.Photo by Susan Wong/Arizona State University
Watts College graduates stay spaced apart as they wait to cross the stage at their in-person graduation celebration on May 3.Photo by Susan Wong/Arizona State University
Graduates got the opportunity to cross the stage to pick up their diplomas at the Watts College celebration.Photo by Susan Wong/Arizona State University
Spirits were high for the newly graduated students of the Watts College on Monday.Photo by Susan Wong/Arizona State University
Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Cronkite graduate Kyla Pearce poses with a diploma cover during the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in-person graduation walk event on Friday, April 30 at the Downtown Phoenix campus.Photo by Kiersten Moss/ASU
A group of students gather in the Cronkite School’s First Amendment Forum during the school’s graduation walk event.Photo by Kiersten Moss/ASU
Digital audience strategy graduate Levi Long poses in front of a cutout of Walter Cronkite during the Cronkite School’s graduation walk event.Photo by Kiersten Moss/ASU
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
Samantha Nappo tries on her cap, as Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law staffer Carolyn Landry looks on, on Thursday, April 8. Graduates had the opportunity to have video and photos taken getting hooded for their juris doctorates in the Great Hall. Nappo earned her degree in sports law and business.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Kelsey Misseldine gets hooded for her juris doctorate by Loni Burnette, the senior director of academic services for the College of Law.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law graduate Jens Camp gets hooded for his juris doctorate.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
International student Isabella Barbosa Ruggeri gets hooded for her juris doctorate.Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU
Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation
A student has decorated her mortar board with the words "I'm Hayley and I'll be your nurse today" at the graduation celebration for Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation on May 4 in downtown Phoenix.Photo by Mitchell Tay
Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation nursing undergraduate Brooke Taylor receives the Daisy Award, presented by Associate Dean Kathy Kenny (left) and Clinical Assistant Professor Allegra Shepherd on May 4. Nursing faculty Cheryl Schmidt and Cynthia Holcomb also received the award that day. The Daisy Award recognizes the extraordinary work of nurses, students and faculty.Photo by Mitchell Tay
Nursing students pose with forks up before the in-person celebration May 4.Photo by Mitchell Tay
Nursing faculty cheer on graduating students May 4 in downtown Phoenix.Photo by Mitchell Tay
Edson College Dean Judy Karshmer waves as she walks toward the cheering squad on May 4.Photo by Mitchell Tay
More campus celebrations
Top photo: Thomacita Begay celebrates her graduation from the College of Health Solutions at an event on the Downtown Phoenix campus on May 5. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News