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ASU graduates celebrate excellence

May 08, 2008

A record 8,000 students celebrated their graduation from Arizona State University May 8 surrounded by their family, friends, teachers and the university community.

It was near full house at Wells Fargo Arena, as this year’s class surpassed 2007 by at least a thousand.

ASU President Michael Crow congratulated the students and challenged them with their last “assignment.”

“This not the end, it is the beginning,” Crow said. “I give you four challenges. One, try to focus on solving problems instead of talking or complaining about them. Two, focus on making our country more competitive and sustainable. Three, be of service. And four, continually learn and think critically to solve problems.”

Included among the graduates was the largest-ever class of 243 nurses, along with 900 teachers, 675 engineers, 210 lawyers, 600 business undergraduates and 550 MBAs.

From the School of Design came 390 architects, designers and urban planners. The Walter Cronkite School educated 188 journalists, and the Herberger College of the Arts graduated 328 artists, musicians, dancers, theater and film professionals, and scholars and historians of the arts.

The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences boasted more than 2,000 graduates from 41 majors, with political science the most popular bachelor’s degree awarded.

Several student “exemplars of excellence” -- Ana and Jennifer Ramirez, Taylor Spears and Samantha Winter -- were recognized.

The recipient of the year’s honorary degree, James J. Duderstadt, president emeritus at the University of Michigan and a leader in the changing landscape of higher education, left the graduates with this message: “Approach life as an opportunity for adventure and risk. While you are facing problems and challenges incomprehensible to my generation, you also are facing a future of extraordinary excitement and optimism.”