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Pomp and Circumstance

The University of Dayton sent a record-setting number of Flyers into the world this May ready to learn, lead and serve.

A record 1,960 University of Dayton students received degrees when they crossed the stage in three separate ceremonies this weekend; that eclipses the record of 1,901 for a spring commencement set last year.

A record 1,510 students received undergraduate degrees at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, May 6. Nearly 370 students received graduate degrees at 12:45 p.m. Saturday, May 5, following the 9 a.m. commencement ceremony for 85 law school graduates. Each ceremony was in University of Dayton Arena and available live online via the related links.

The University also held a baccalaureate Mass at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 5, in UD Arena.

Sixty-five-year-old Michael Hannigan jumped right from the fire into the frying pan to reach graduation day. After 30 years as the Lebanon, Ohio, fire chief, he retired and went back to finish the University of Dayton degree he started in 1972. But the real thrill, he said before the ceremony, will be graduating with his daughter, Chrissy.

"She asked me when I started back at UD if I could finish so I could graduate with her," Michael Hannigan said. "I couldn't say no."

That's not the only promise Michael fulfilled on graduation day.

"A long time ago, I made a promise to my parents to get my degree," he said before the ceremony. "If it all works out, my 91-year-old father will be there."

Hannigan transferred to the University from Rockland Community College in Suffern, New York, in the fall of 1972. He left school to become a first responder for the city of Oakwood, Ohio, in December 1973 but put his UD and Rockland Community College courses toward an associate degree in applied science in fire science technology at Sinclair Community College.

UD's undergraduate commencement also had a sister act with twins Kayla and Ada Pariser of Crestwood, Kentucky, near Louisville. Kayla, who received a degree in mechanical engineering, is among the 16 percent of the 12,000 applicants who received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. The fellowship gives Kayla three years of tuition and a stipend to support her graduate education at the University of Delaware, where she will focus on biomechanical simulation. Ada, a pre-medicine major, is heading to Michigan State University where she will enter the College of Human Medicine's Leadership in Rural Medicine Program.

The law school graduation featured the School of Law's first Leadership Honors Program participants to earn their juris doctor degrees. The program, for high-achieving students by nomination only, provides a full-tuition scholarship. As part of their Leadership Honors Program experience, students work on a Leadership Legacy Project with community leaders to address an issue facing the region. 

The inaugural cohort worked with Judge Gregory Singer of the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court and Julie Gentile, a physician and chair of the department of psychiatry at the Wright State University Medical School, to examine services available to those struggling with opioid addiction, mental illness and related trauma and to identify ways to improve long-term outcomes for area residents facing these issues.

"The students set out to get their arms around this enormously complex subject and were able to successfully narrow the scope of their inquiry to identifying services available to address opioid addiction in Montgomery County," said Susan Wawrose, Leadership Honors Program director. "They researched and documented mental health, addiction and trauma services inside and outside of the court system for juveniles and adults. The students also identified next steps so future Leadership Honors Program participants can build upon their fine work."

Job prospects for this year's University of Dayton graduates, as well as those for graduates nationally, are looking up. A survey by Michigan State University's Collegiate Employment Research Institute found "job opportunities will expand by 19 percent across all degree levels. Bachelor’s degree opportunities will contribute 17 percent to growth. MBA and master's degree graduates can also expect a good array of opportunities."

Ninety-five percent of University of Dayton undergraduates — from August and December 2016 and May 2017 — responding to a University of Dayton Office of Career Services survey reported being employed, pursuing an advanced degree or participating in a service program within six months of graduation. It's a remarkable track record of success, with at least a 95 percent success rate for the first six years of the survey. 

Want to be a teacher or work in the medical field? Good news. School of Education and Health Sciences graduates responding to the survey report a 97 percent success rate. Engineering majors report 96 percent. Business majors and graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences report 95 and 94 percent, respectively.

Ninety-six percent of all respondents report they hold full-time jobs, and 95.5 percent of these graduates  are working in their chosen field or in a job that's a first step toward a position in their field.

For complete information on University of Dayton's undergraduate, graduate and School of Law ceremonies, visit the related links.


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