Campus News

4 UK Students Selected to Speak at Commencement Ceremonies

(From left): Robert Anderson III, Amy Luu Ngo, Haley Brents and Deborah Myers.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 29, 2022)  Per University of Kentucky tradition, UK President Eli Capilouto has selected student representatives to speak at the UK Commencement Ceremonies May 6-7, at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.

Four speakers in total were selected. Each speaker will address their respective ceremony in-person, returning to tradition after COVID-19 restrictions saw speeches being pre-recorded.

The four student speakers are:

Robert E. Anderson III

Anderson, of Covington, Kentucky, will address the audience 9 a.m. Friday, May 6. Graduating from the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment (CAFE) with a master’s in nutrition and food systems, Anderson is eager to address his fellow graduates.

“I’m excited to get to share how the University of Kentucky, my department (Dietetics and Human Nutrition) faculty and family have supported my journey in higher education," Anderson said. “It is my hope that the audience will feel inspired by the Kentucky spirit and harness our state’s proud traditions as they move into the next chapter of their lives. I hope that they feel an immediate call to action to help solve the wicked problems of our nation with the confidence that they have the support of UK no matter where they go or what they do.”

During his time at UK, Anderson served as a graduate research assistant; study coordinator; lab coordinator of the Performance, Nutrition and Body Composition Laboratory; Cooperative Extension publication assistant; Kentucky Health and Wellness ambassador program assistant; teaching assistant and lecturer for various CAFE courses. He is the 2021 GradResearch Live! 3-Minute Thesis Competition winner and Department of Dietetics and Human Nutrition Graduate Student Congress representative.

Haley Brents

Brents, of Louisville, Kentucky, is earning a bachelor’s degree in special education from the UK College of Education, as well as a minor in psychology and certifications in learning/behavior disorders and moderate/severe disabilities. She will give the student address at the 2 p.m. ceremony on Friday, May 6.

While at UK, Brents was president of Underground Perspective, a UK Diversity Recruitment ambassador, K-Crew leader, UK101 peer mentorHall and Area Council member, and a LexEngaged Living Learning Program (LLP) participant. She also spent three years as a resident advisor and is the recipient of the William C. Parker Scholarship, James and Patsy Education Scholarship, Still We Rise Scholarship, and the Alma Lee Allen Special Education Scholarship.

Brents received news of her selection as student speaker from UK President Eli Capilouto.

“Before President Capilouto called me, I was able to be in contact with his office to set up a time to speak to him. From that interaction, I anticipated why he was calling but still tried not to get my hope up that it was about my speech. When he called to tell me I would be the student commencement speaker, it took everything in me not to squeal in his ear and I could not help but repeat 'oh my gosh!' Even days after our phone call, I kept asking myself if it had really happened,” Brents said.

Deborah Myers

The California, Kentucky native is the student speaker for the 6 p.m. Friday, May 6 ceremony. Myers is graduating with a bachelor of business administration in finance and marketing from the UK Gatton College of Business and Economics and a bachelor’s in agricultural economics from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Myers hopes to express appreciation to the UK community and a challenge as fellow classmates start their new firsts. 

I found my home at the University of Kentucky and am deeply proud to call myself a Wildcat,” Myers said. “This institution provided me with educational and experiential firsts that empowered me to learn and grow beyond what I knew was possible. What’s more, I hope to challenge my fellow graduates to set forth with both purpose and intentionality as we aim to educate, innovate, heal and serve our Commonwealth and beyond.”

Throughout her four years on campus, Myers was named a Women in Finance Scholar; Honorary Commissioner of Agriculture; Women Business Leaders Delegate; University Endowment Fund Student Portfolio Manager; Coca-Cola Scholar; Commonwealth Ambassador; and Kentucky Governor’s Scholar. She has dedicated time as a resident advisor, Agricultural Economics Academic Team Secretary, Cooperative Extension Service intern, CAFE Ambassador and Student Council Representative, Southland Students Volunteer, and intern for the Kentucky Department of Agriculture and Fifth Third Bank. 

Amy Luu Ngo

Ngo, of Bowling Green, Kentucky, will address her classmates as the student speaker for the 9 a.m. Saturday, May 7 ceremony. Ngo is earning a bachelor's degree in biology from the UK College of Arts and Sciences and a minor in health advocacy and a certificate in clinical healthcare management from the UK College of Health Sciences.

Over the last four years, Ngo has dedicated time as a clinical laboratory technician to process thousands of COVID-19 samples for the UK community and the Commonwealth. She has also conducted research through the UK Office of Undergraduate Research and served as a teaching assistant intern in the UK Department of Chemistry. She also is a member of Lambda Alpha Chi Omega; UK Amnesty International; vice president of financial and medical coordinator for UK Shoulder to Shoulder: Global Brigades; a member of the Interprofessional Healthcare Living Learning Program; a volunteer with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; and volunteered on campus with various UK vaccination clinic COVID-19 efforts.

Ngo is also the first in her family to attend college, and is excited to share her story.

“As a first-generation college student, there were various obstacles and challenges that I had to overcome,” Ngo said. “I hope that my speech emphasizes the importance of perseverance when facing life tribulation. Also, be able to show how the University of Kentucky has created an environment that gives their students a sense of community and belonging.”

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.