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UCSB Sends Off Class of 2016 with 8 Days of Ceremonies, Reflection and Anticipation

University awarding more than 5,000 degrees to its undergraduate and graduate students this year

Students from UC Santa Barbara’s College of Letters and Science wait for the signal to march into commencement Saturday. Click to view larger
Students from UC Santa Barbara’s College of Letters and Science wait for the signal to march into commencement Saturday. (Sam Goldman / Noozhawk photo)

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UC Santa Barbara celebrated its Class of 2016 with eight days of on-campus ceremonies for the more than 5,000 students receiving their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

Capped off by its commencement ceremonies, which began June 5 and run through Sunday, UCSB awarded 5,745 academic degrees over the school year.

“During your time here, you have demonstrated to all of us just how very special you are,” Chancellor Henry Yang told students at Saturday afternoon’s ceremony for engineering and sciences undergraduates, which narrowly escaped the drizzle of the day’s morning ceremony.

“We have come to appreciate your intelligence, your curiosity, your dedication and your vibrant spirit,” he said. “I’ve also noticed your ability to have a good time.”

Most of the ceremonies took place on the Faculty Club Green, which overlooks the campus lagoon.

With world-class academic preparation, formative experiences and fond memories under their belts, student speakers said the class is poised for success and to fulfill its aspirations.

“We are proof that no dream worth pursuing is impossible to achieve,” chemical engineering graduate Oluwagbogo Adebayo-Ige said.

“As we all commemorate the achievements of the graduates today, I ask that you never forget three things: You should never limit others, you should never let others limit you, but most important, you should never limit yourself with what you can accomplish.”

The graduations kicked off June 5 with the College of Creative Studies and guest speaker Carol Greider, a Johns Hopkins University professor who graduated from UCSB in 1983 and won the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. The festivities continued with the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management on Friday.

After sciences, engineering and social sciences Saturday, the ceremonies conclude Sunday with more social science students, along with humanities, arts, and master’s and doctoral candidates.

“We are told time and time again that a chapter of our lives is closing, and we must now be ready to embrace the real world,” psychology graduate Andrea Renteria told the thousands of students, family and friends gathered Saturday. “I am telling you that we are already there. We have always been there.”

“You are not only a part of the real world — you have been successful at it,” she said. “You are sitting here today, and that is already a major accomplishment that deserves to be celebrated.”

The number of graduating Gauchos will only increase in the coming years, as the university has begun an era of gradually increasing enrollment.

UCSB is planning a 1 percent increase in enrollment, or 250 students, each year through 2025, as the university works toward its goal of adding 5,000 more people to its student body.

A record 94,000 students applied to be an undergraduate for the 2016–2017 school year, according to UCSB officials.

And as UCSB’s student body has grown, so has its reputation.

U.S. News and World Report, which issues an influential annual array of university rankings, named UCSB the No. 8 public university in the country for 2016, Yang noted.

The seaside campus, he added, is ranked seventh worldwide for the number of faculty members who have won a Nobel Prize since 2000.​

Noozhawk staff writer Sam Goldman can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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