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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Commencement closes one chapter, opens new

Rebecca Noble

As graduating seniors close the book on their college memories, a lot of preparation and change, including the UA’s new UA Grad app by GradAPP LLC, is going on behind the scenes to ensure a successful, problem-free and memorable 2015 Commencement.

The UA’s glitzy commencement ceremony, filled with fireworks, red and blue hues, and an Old Main set in the Arizona Stadium, only adds to seniors’ excitement for countless hours of studying and hard work finally paying off.

Kasandra Urquidez is vice president for enrollment management and student affairs advancement. Urquidez said commencement is especially inspiring for her, because as the dean of undergraduate admissions, she and her team recruited and admitted the students who now are moving on to great things in their futures.

“It’s a very special feeling,” Urquidez said.

As the UA sends off the Class of 2015, Urquidez said she wants graduates to feel full of hope, excitement and “as though the end of their academic experience was better than they ever could have imagined.”

With such a memorable and celebratory commencement, Urquidez said she hopes graduates see how much the UA appreciates them by the event they planned in order to celebrate one of life’s biggest milestones. With thousands of anxious and eager graduates, Urquidez said the biggest challenge is accommodating all of the graduates and their families.

“Doing anything on such a large scale is a challenge, because there are so many things that have to be taken into account,” Urquidez said.

Serving the graduates and their families effectively and efficiently is Urquidez’s top priority. This year, Urquidez and her team are making changes to avoid the mishaps that occurred at 2014’s Commencement.

The UA’s new GradApp provides graduates and guests more commencement information accessibility. It has notifications, directions and graduates’ personalized schedules to keep users informed of the evening’s festivities.

Once graduates arrive on the field, they will receive half liters of water and “water monsters,” filled with chilled water. Urquidez said she is confident that the two biggest issues from last year have been addressed and will make for a smooth and successful ceremony.

Jay Hanaoka, a senior graduating with a Bachelor of Science in information sciences, technology and arts, has family from California attending the commencement ceremony.

“I’m most excited to walk with my class during graduation,” Hanaoka said. “I’m proud to say I’ve graduated from a renowned university.”

After graduation, Hanaoka said he plans on starting his job at the UA College of Medicine in information technology. Hanaoka said he looks forward to a future with a sustainable job with room to grow within the company.

“Having a degree from an established university helps in the workplace,” he said.

Zoey Kotzambasis, a political science senior graduating from the Honors College, said she’s looking forward to graduation because she can “celebrate the fact that the last four years have been the best four years of [her] life.” Kotzambasis, who is also attending law school at UA’s James E. Rogers College of Law, said graduation “is also bittersweet, but cool, too, because [she gets] to stay here and celebrate going across the street and having the next three best years of [her] life.”

Kotzambasis said the best part about going to school at the UA has been having a ZonaZoo pass and having the opportunity to rush the field twice. She said she enjoys UA students’ level of energy and immense school pride.

“You walk around campus, and everyone is wearing U of A stuff; everyone’s proud to be here,” she said. “It’s that bear down spirit. That’s why I want to stay here.”


Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter.

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