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Nearly 12K to graduate from Iowa’s public universities this weekend
Events will be indoors, removing weather concerns
Nearly 12,000 students will graduate from Iowa’s public universities this weekend — many of whom participate in one or more of the dozens of ceremonies and receptions scheduled across the three campuses.
All the universities are holding their largest undergraduate commencements Saturday — with the University of Iowa breaking up its College of Liberal Arts and Sciences graduation into two: one at 9 a.m. and a second at 1 p.m. in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The events will be indoors — with Hilton Coliseum hosting most of Iowa State University’s ceremonies and the McLeod Center hosting the University of Northern Iowa commencement.
In addition to UI’s largest graduations inside Carver, the university is hosting a “2023 Celebration of Graduates” in the Ted Pacha Family Club in the north end zone of Kinnick Stadium from 2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday.
That event will celebrate the fall 2022, spring 2023 and summer 2023 graduates who preregistered for light refreshments and photos with Herky.
The indoor accommodations make the weekend rain forecast less of an issue for the tens of thousands of family members expected to pack the seats and event spaces to watch their new graduates turn tassels on their commencement caps.
The universities kicked off the graduation weekend with some ceremonies Thursday and Friday — including for UI College of Medicine and Law graduates, who celebrated at Hancher Auditorium.
- Of UI’s 5,458 degree recipients this spring, 67 percent, or 3,668, are undergraduates. The remainder are graduates receiving advanced degrees.
- Of Iowa State’s 5,109 spring graduates, 82 percent, or 4,174, are undergrads.
- Of UNI’s 1,407 spring graduates, 83 percent, or 1,163, are undergraduate.
When combined with those students who graduated after the fall semester in December, UI and Iowa State both conferred more than 7,200 degrees this academic year and UNI conferred more than 2,160.
When compared with past springs, UNI has hovered around the 1,400 mark for years, and Iowa State is up slightly from around 5,000 the last three years.
The UI’s 5,458 is meaningfully above last year’s 5,124 and closer to the 5,303 in 2021 and the 5,473 in 2020 during the pandemic.
For more information on the weekend’s ceremonies:
Visit the University of Iowa commencement page;
Iowa State University’s commencement site;
And the University of Northern Iowa page.
All three of the campuses have seen their four-year undergraduate graduation rates improve in recent years — with the UI boasting the highest at 58 percent, up from 40 percent two decades ago.
Iowa State reports a 56 percent undergraduate four-year graduation rate, up from 31 percent in the early 2000s. UNI reports a 47 percent rate, up from 34 percent over the same period.
“Graduation rates for UNI students stand at record high levels for the second year in a row,” UNI officials reported. “The four-year graduation rate increased by 5 percent over last year and is nearly 20 percentage points above similar universities.”
All three have higher rates of undergraduates who graduate within six years — at 74 percent for UI and ISU and 64 percent for UNI, although those numbers have been falling for UNI and Iowa State.
And while the diversity gap has been closing for the campuses’ combined six-year graduation rates — largely due to a drop in the rate for white students to 74 percent from 77 percent, compared with 65 percent of minorities — the four-year graduation gap has stayed mostly the same for 20 years.
During this weekend’s ceremonies, the campuses will host a slew of guest speakers across their events — including animal welfare pioneer and autism activist Temple Grandin at Iowa State; WNBA player and UI women’s basketball alumna Megan Gustafson for the Tippie College of Business undergraduate ceremony; and Iowa Supreme Court Justice Dana Oxley, who will speak during the UI College of Law commencement.
University of Iowa graduates, by the numbers:
16 percent of the undergraduates had more than one major
3.31 was the average undergraduate GPA
21 percent of the undergraduates say they’re the first in their family to go to college
98 graduates identify as veterans
19 percent of all graduates identify as a minority
71 is the age of the oldest degree recipient
19 is the age of the youngest degree applicant
42 states are represented in this year’s crop of graduates
75 countries, including the United States, are represented
97 percent of last year’s UI graduates have found a job, continued their education or are not looking for work.
Source: University of Iowa
Vanessa Miller covers higher education for The Gazette.
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