Watch Live: UK's May 2016 Commencement Ceremonies


The May 2016 Commencement Ceremonies will be livestreamed here Sunday, May 8. Please ensure your computer or device's software is up to date. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 6, 2016) — This Sunday, the University of Kentucky May 2016 Commencement Ceremonies will recognize the accomplishments of undergraduate, graduate and professional students who will have completed their degrees by the end of the spring 2016 semester. Undergraduate degrees will be conferred at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., and graduate and professional degrees will be conferred at 7 p.m. 

Nearly 2,500 undergraduates and over 500 graduate and professional students are expected to participate in Sunday's ceremonies, marking the largest Commencement in UK's history. Overall, approximately 3,200 undergraduate, 1,110 graduate and 450 professional degree candidates have been approved by the UK Board of Trustees. 

All ceremonies will be streamed live on UKNow.

Sunday’s ceremonies include:

Video by UK Public Relations and Marketing.

Graduate Stories

While all graduates are celebrated for their tremendous achievements, many have particularly interesting stories to share about their lives and time at UK. This includes former UK football player Randall Cobb, who will be the first person in his immediate family to graduate with a college degree. Cobb, who plays in the NFL for the Green Bay Packers, will earn a degree in community and leadership development from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Chris Stewart transitioned from being a professional violinist in Los Angeles to a law student at UK. As a blind person, he used his musical knowledge and skills to help him critically analyze components of the law.

Read more stories about UK's May 2016 graduates.

Featured Speaker

UK President Eli Capilouto will introduce noted African-American scholar and President of Prairie View A&M University George C. Wright to deliver formal commencement remarks at both the 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. undergraduate ceremonies. A native of Lexington, Wright received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history from UK and his doctoral degree in history from Duke University. In 2004, he was awarded an honorary doctorate of letters from UK.

Wright's teaching experience began in 1977 as an assistant professor at UK. In 1980, he began teaching at the University of Texas at Austin where he would eventually become a full professor and holder of the Mastin Gentry White Professorship of Southern History. He received the top teaching award in the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Natural Sciences, the Jean Holloway Award for Teaching Excellence, and the top teaching award for the entire university, the Lillian and Tom B. Rhodes Centennial Teaching Fellow, which garnered him a $10,000 prize. In 1993, he joined the faculty at Duke University as vice provost for undergraduate programs, director of the Afro-American Studies Program and held the William R. Kenan Jr. Chair in American History. Wright has authored three books on race relations.

Student Speakers

A student will also address the audience at each of the undergraduate ceremonies, as per UK tradition.

  • Jared Scott, from Saginaw, Michigan, is graduating with a degree in finance from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics. He will deliver the Commencement address at the 9 a.m. ceremony.  
  • Jackie Dallaire, from Arlington, Virginia, is graduating with a degree in the UK College of Social Work. She will give the Commencement address at the 2 p.m. ceremony. 

Read more about the undergraduate student speakers here.

Honorary Degrees

The University of Kentucky will award honorary doctorates at the 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. ceremonies. The recipients include:

  • W. David Arnett, Honorary Doctor of Science. One of the world's pre-eminent astrophysicists, an area in which he has published more than 400 papers and a renowned scientific book, Arnett also has a physical law named for him. Arnett's Law describes how stars regulate energy transport as they explode. He currently is Regents Professor at Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona where he continues to conduct research to bring further clarity to understanding the universe. Arnett will be honored at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
  • Thomas Patterson "Patt" Maney, Honorary Doctor of Laws. Maney has attained the highest levels of recognition in two fields — the military and the law. Maney served in the military for 34 years reaching the rank of general, and he served in various hot spots around the world, including Panama, Haiti, Bosnia and Afghanistan. Maney now serves as a judge in Okaloosa County Court in Florida. His law career has focused on improving the lives of American veterans which led to the Florida legislature's passage of the T. "Patt" Maney Veterans Treatment Intervention Act. Maney will be honored at the 2 p.m. ceremony.
  • Herbert W. Ockerman, Honorary Doctor of Science. A world-renowned professor of animal science and researcher in the areas of food chemistry and meat science, Ockerman has served his entire faculty career at the Ohio State University where he continues to work full time. Long ago, he established the tradition of collecting books and donating them to school and university libraries around the world. That tradition became the Frances J. Ockerman International Book Endowment, named for his late wife. He also created a separate endowment at UK in memory of Frances. Ockerman will be honored at the 7 p.m. ceremony.
  • Eileen Recktenwald, Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Recktenwald serves as executive director of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs that oversees 13 Kentucky Rape Crisis Centers throughout the state. She is recognized as a national leader in victim services and has helped Kentucky become nationally prominent in the field of sexual violence prevention. She was one of the first graduates of the UK College of Social Work's satellite programs in the Master of Social Work Education program in Eastern Kentucky. Recktenwald will be honored at the 7 p.m. ceremony.

Read more about the May 2016 UK Honorary Degree recipients here. 


All three ceremonies will be streamed live at, the university’s news website. Full video of each ceremony will be available within two weeks after Commencement on the university’s YouTube channel,

Social media users are encouraged to use the hashtag #ukgrad.

For more information about UK Commencement, visit

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, visit #uky4ky #seeblue

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;