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UMD to Celebrate Combined Classes in Joint Commencement Ceremony

Maryland Stadium Event to Honor 12,600 Students

By Liam Farrell

Decorated grad cap at outdoor commencement

Following last year’s successful Spring Commencement ceremony at Maryland Stadium, this year’s event will also take place there.

Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

In the debut of a new tradition, more than 12,600 members of the Summer 2021, Winter 2021 and Spring 2022 graduating classes will be celebrated together Friday with a combined, in-person commencement ceremony.

The outdoor event at Maryland Stadium will honor more than 9,000 bachelor’s, nearly 2,700 master’s and about 900 doctoral degree recipients. Individual department, school and college ceremonies are being held across campus Wednesday through Friday.

“The past two years have taught us many lessons—that we are better when we work together, that we should strive for more connections with family and friends, and that we should embrace opportunities to celebrate,” said university President Darryll J. Pines. “We want our Spring 2022 Commencement ceremony and all others that follow to be bigger and better than ever before. Commencement is our time to unite, make connections and celebrate.”

The main commencement address will be given by Jeff Kinney ’93, the illustrator and best-selling children’s author of the worldwide Diary of a Wimpy Kid phenomenon. He was originally scheduled to speak at the December ceremony, canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My experiences at the University of Maryland helped shape me, and set me on the path I’m on today,” Kinney said. “I am honored for the opportunity to return to my alma mater and speak to the next generation of leaders, creators and innovators as they prepare to tackle what comes next.”

Honorary degrees will be conferred on longtime university benefactors Alma G. Gildenhorn ’53, Joseph B. Gildenhorn ’51 and Barry P. Gossett ’62.

The first couple to be inducted into the Alumni Association’s Alumni Hall of Fame, the Gildenhorns have supported initiatives across campus, including chairing the campaign to build the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and naming its Gildenhorn Recital Hall, and establishing the Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies. Both have served as university foundation trustees, and Alma co-chaired UMD’s last three fundraising campaigns.

Gossett’s record of university service and philanthropy spans decades and the campus, including the A. James Clark School of Engineering; Jiménez-Porter Writers’ House; and Omicron Delta Kappa honor society. He was chairman of the University System and University of Maryland College Park foundations and established the Barry and Mary Gossett Center for Academic and Personal Excellence, which created an innovative, three-part model to support student-athletes’ academic success.

Ceremony speakers will include Pines and M Pease ’22, who is graduating with high honors in psychology and minors in Asian American studies and public leadership, and will pursue a doctorate in counseling psychology at UMD.

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