Campus News

Watch Live as UK Celebrates December Graduates

Watch live at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. as UK honors its December 2019 graduates. Please ensure your device's software is up to date.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 20, 2019) — Today, the University of Kentucky will honor its Fall 2019 graduates at the December 2019 Commencement Ceremonies.  

The two ceremonies will begin 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. EST today in Rupp Arena. Both ceremonies will be livestreamed on the university's YouTube channel at

  • 10 a.m.: College of Agriculture, Food and Environment; College of Education; College of Engineering; College of Fine Arts; College of Medicine; College of Social Work; College of Public Health; College of Pharmacy; Martin School of Public Policy and Administration; Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce
  • 3 p.m.: College of Arts and Sciences; Gatton College of Business and Economics; College of Communication and Information; College of Design; College of Health Sciences; College of Nursing

More than 1,000 students are expected to attend Friday's ceremonies; overall, approximately 1,800 total degrees have been approved by the UK Board of Trustees. August 2019 degree recipients are also eligible to participate in the December ceremonies. More than 900 degrees were conferred for August.

Doctoral, master's and baccalaureate degree recipients are recognized together based on their colleges.


Due to construction around Rupp Arena and Lexington Center, parking and entry information is limited. Graduates and their guests should arrive at least one hour before the start of their ceremony. View a parking map here.

Honorary degree

An honorary degree will be presented at the 10 a.m. ceremony to Porter "P.G." Peeples, president and chief executive officer of the Urban League of Lexington. Peeples is a 1968 graduate of UK — one of the few African American students to enroll and graduate at that time. The following year, at the age of 22, Peeples was named the director of the new Urban League of Lexington, making him the youngest chapter director in the United States. He has dedicated his life to serving Lexington and its African American community through an over 50-year career of civil rights and social justice advocacy with the Urban League. Read more about Peeples.

Student speakers 

In addition to UK President Eli Capilouto, a student representative will address the audience at each of the ceremonies, as per UK tradition. Daniel Beasley, from Elizabethtown, Kentucky, is graduating with a bachelor's degree from the College of Social Work. He will give the Commencement address at the 10 a.m. ceremony. Ndeye Matou Amar, from Senegal, West Africa, is graduating with a bachelor's degree in psychology from the College of Arts and Sciences. She will deliver the Commencement address at the 3 p.m. ceremony.

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.

  • Roger Dittert and his wife’s lives were turned upside down in July 2015 when they unexpectedly lost their unborn child due to pregnancy complications. This seemingly insurmountable loss accompanied by his inherent desire to help others left him with only one path — returning to UK to attend nursing school. As a result of the compassion and expert care Dittert and his wife received in their time of need, he now plans to pursue a career in obstetrics.
  • A car accident left Rachel Centers, a kinesiology major from Jeffersonville, Kentucky, with a severe brain injury. Even years after the accident Centers still suffers from short-term memory loss, reduced speeds of cognitive processing and reaction time, fatigue, depression, sleep deprivation, loss of motivation and mood changes. However, Centers didn’t let those obstacles stop her from fulfilling her passion of earning a degree.
  • Parisa ShamaeiZadeh, from Paintsville, Kentucky, grew up in two cultures — her mother is from Appalachia and her father is from Iran. As a dual citizen of both countries, she spent her childhood traveling back and forth between the two, and says seeing the challenges her father experienced due to his immigrant status is what drove her to pursue a career focusing on how culture affects health. Graduating with a human health sciences degree from the UK College of Health Sciences, she plans to pursue a career in medicine geared toward serving low income, migrant and refugee populations.
  • Stuart Lichtenberg, a native of Morehead, Kentucky, is not your typical college graduate. He started taking classes at UK in 2002, leaving before completing his degree. The years following helped motivate him to return to school, determined to find his niche this time around. His newly discovered passion for agricultural biotechnology led him to not only complete his bachelor’s degree requirements, but also continue on to earn a Ph.D. His time in the lab studying next generation pesticides opened the door for his next adventure: tracking chronic wasting disease (CWD). Stuart Lichtenberg will graduate with a doctorate in integrated plant and soil science from the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

For more information on Commencement, visit

photo of UK graduates
More than 1,000 students are expected to attend Friday's ceremonies. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion three years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" two years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for four straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.