Commencement ceremonies draw big crowds

Commencement ceremonies were held throughout the end of April — from the large gathering for undergraduates on April 30 at Petersen Events Center to school-based celebrations for graduate and undergraduate students.

Ceremonies are still upcoming for the Schools of Medicine and Dental Medicine.

One of 2,500 members of the Class of 2023 was former Pitt and NFL star Rickey Jackson, 65, who finished his degree in social sciences from the College of General Studies 40 years after he left Pitt to enter the NFL Draft.

At the other end of the age spectrum, RJ Krishnaswamy, 16, received his bachelor of science degree in computer science as part of the Class of 2023.

Danielle Obisie-Orlu — a political science major in the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences who graduated with minors in French and sociology, certificates in transatlantic studies and African studies, an honors distinction and a global distinction — was named a 2023 ODK Senior of the Year, an award for students who show exceptional leadership and character.

Colin Uher — a communication rhetoric grad from the Dietrich School who served as Pitt’s panther mascot, Roc, for four years — also was chosen as a 2023 ODK Senior of the Year.

Sabella Prime, a School of Nursing student, was selected for the Emma W. Locke Award, which recognizes one undergraduate student each year for high scholarship, character, leadership and devotion to the ideals of the University of Pittsburgh.

Chemist-turned-soccer-referee Katy Nesbitt (A&S '15G) was the keynote speaker for the undergraduate ceremony. She encouraged the graduates to have confidence in the knowledge they have gained at the University as they venture out into the world.

Aya Dakroub, who earned her degree in chemistry from the Dietrich School, was this year's undergraduate speaker. Her message to the Class of 2023: “Hail to our kindness, honesty and resiliency. Hail to the moments and the people that brought us here. And above all else, Hail to Pitt!”

  • Pitt Band members pose for photos near a Pitt script sign before commencement. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Graduate students in the Swanson School of Engineering received their degrees on April 28 in Bellefield Auditorium. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Patrick Gallagher gave his final undergraduate commencement address during the annual ceremony on April 30 at Petersen Events Center. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • An undergraduate senior looks ahead with their mortarboard sign during commencement. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Undergraduate commencement on April 30 drew a crowd to Petersen Events Center, with each graduating student limited to four tickets for family and friends. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Each undergraduate marched across the stage during commencement to get their diploma. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Keynote commencement speaker Katy Nesbitt, a Pitt chemistry alumna and the first American woman to referee at the World Cup, receives an honorary degree from Board of Trustees chair Doug Browning as Chancellor Gallagher and Anantha Shekhar, senior vice chancellor of health sciences, look on. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Graduates celebrate as they leave the stage during undergraduate commencement. (Aimee Obidzinski | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Carissa Schively Slotterback, dean of the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, presents a graduate student with his diploma during a ceremony April 27 at Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum. (Johnathan Wright | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Dean Kathleen Blee of the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences congratulates graduate students in a ceremony April 27 at the Fitzgerald Fieldhouse. (Johnathan Wright | University of Pittsburgh)
  • Nursing students at Pitt–Bradford show off their commencement finery during the April 30 ceremony.
  • Students line up to receive their diplomas during the Pitt-Greensburg commencement ceremony on April 29.