Student Stories Frame May Commencement

Over the last several months, I’ve shared with our campus, state lawmakers, community leaders, and alumni stories that exemplify our role as the University for Kentucky. It’s a powerful message. One that illustrates the myriad ways - through education, research, service, and health care - we serve people within our Commonwealth and beyond its borders. 

Last Sunday, more than 4,800 students graduated from the University of Kentucky. While here, they contributed their chapter to the UK story.  

Among them were participants who raised millions for to fight the scourge of pediatric cancer. Our graduates collected textbooks for schoolchildren in Cameroon, and they performed incredible works of art in performance halls around the world.

One graduate transitioned from being a professional violinist in Los Angeles to studying law at the University of Kentucky. His skills as a musician helped him deconstruct judicial opinions in the same way he deconstructed symphonies. Undeterred by his blindness, he studied LSAT logic games by assigning musical notes to different rules, letting them build a chord in his head.

Graduates served countless non-profits through FUSION and on their own time. During their four years at the UK College of Medicine, two students served as clinic managers at the student-run Salvation Army Clinic in Lexington. Others helped start and launch a city-wide substance abuse resource, with information on treatment resources and facilities around Central Kentucky. All of our graduates balanced academics with athletics, student organizations, personal obligations, and friendships. 

Throughout the day, there were reminders that it was also Mother’s Day. One UK graduate finished her animal science degree while working full-time, raising a child, and taking care of her ailing mother, requiring time, energy, and attention while tackling a rigorous major.

These newest members of our alumni family are a part of our story. They make us proud.

As they leave our campus, I will be excited in the coming years to witness the chapters they write, the stories they tell, as leaders and contributors to communities across our state and world.