Celebrating the Accomplishments of our Graduating Students

Commencement 2023

Join the Celebration

Commemorating our Graduating Class of 2023

Family, friends, and community members will gather to celebrate our graduating students’ accomplishments as they receive their diplomas on Friday, May 12, 2023, at the Field House.

The ceremonies will be live-streamed on YouTube and Facebook for those who can’t attend in person.

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Be sure to check back for the latest information.

For more information

For more detailed information about graduation and preparation, please visit here.

If you have any specific questions not answered on the webpage, please contact the Commencement Committee.

Graduate Commencement Ceremony

Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony

Keynote Speakers

The commencement keynote speaker for each ceremony is a notable figure selected to offer advice and reflections to our graduating classes as they prepare to share their knowledge and skills gained at Gallaudet University with the world.

This year, we are honored to have two keynote speakers – Dr. Annelies Kusters of Heriot-Watt University for the graduate ceremony, and Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum of Mount Holyoke College for the undergraduate ceremony.

Dr. Annelies Kusters

Associate Professor in Sign Language and Intercultural Research
Heriot-Watt University, Scotland

Graduate Ceremony Speaker

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

Interim President, Mount Holyoke College
Author, Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?: And Other Conversations About Race

Undergraduate Ceremony Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Student Commencement Speakers

These students speakers will share their journeys, insights, and advice to their graduating classes to prepare them for the future after Gallaudet University. It is an honor for these students to be selected as Undergraduate or Graduate Commencement Speaker.

Gallaudet University has selected undergraduate and graduate students to speak to their graduating classes since 1991. If you would like to know who were our previous student speakers, our Archives and Deaf Collections updates the list annually.

Edgar Sanabria Ramos

Master of Arts, Sign Language Education
Mexico City, Mexico

Graduate Class of 2023 Speaker

Jakiya Murphy

Bachelor of Arts, English
Austin, Texas

Undergraduate Class of 2023 Speaker

Honorary Degree Recipient

Blanche H. Wilkins Williams

A posthumous honorary degree will be awarded to Blanche H. Wilkins Williams, who in 1893 became the first Black Deaf alumna of the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf. Denied admission to Gallaudet because the college did not accept Black students at the time, she became a highly respected and much-loved teacher of Black Deaf students in North Carolina, Texas, and Illinois.

Doctor of Humane Letters

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum

An honorary degree will be awarded to Dr. Tatum, interim president of Mount Holyoke College, best-selling author, civic leader, and a clinical psychologist.  She is widely known for both her expertise on race relations and as a thought leader in higher education. Her 13 years as the president of Spelman College (2002-2015) were marked by innovation and growth.

Doctor of Humane Letters

Faculty Emerit

Dr. Matthew H. Bakke

Professor Emerit

Dr. Dennis B. Galvan

Professor Emerit

Dr. Michael L. Moore, ’68

Professor Emerit

Dr. Henry David Snyder

Professor Emerit

Commencement Awards

Each year in May, we recognize the accomplishments of students who have demonstrated academic excellence and exceptional leadership in their fields.

Please join us in celebrating our Award recipients and their outstanding scholarly achievements!

From the archives: Class of 2022

Join the class of 2022 in reliving the memories and inspiration of last year’s graduation ceremony.
We were honored to have powerful speeches from notable speakers including Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Dr. Naomi Caselli of Boston University. Ms. Kristina Miranda and Ms. Molly Feanny delivered speeches as representatives of the Graduate and Undergraduate classes respectively. We also recognized distinguished alumni such as Ms. Dorothy Sueoka Casterline, Mr. Carl Gustaf Croneberg, and Ms. Lauren Ridloff with honorary degrees.

Stay up to date on all Gallaudet happenings, both stories and initiatives with our Signing community!

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  • These recommendations are intended for graduating students who test positive for COVID prior to commencement. Graduating students who show symptoms of COVID will not be allowed to attend the ceremony.
  • Students with COVID within days 1-5, who are not showing active symptoms such as cough and/or fever will be allowed to sit in a designated room in the fieldhouse apart from the commencement ceremony and will watch the event on TV in the separate area. They will be brought into the ceremony by a volunteer worker and walk on stage to receive their degrees and then return to the designated space to watch the rest of the ceremony.
  • Students can test out after their 5th day of isolation to return to daily activities and attend commencement activities as normal, but should mask up until day 10. 
    • This includes walking on the stage. 
  • Students with COVID and not showing symptoms should be masked up at all times while sitting in the designated room.
  • Exception to the mask policy: Students will be allowed to walk at the end of the ceremony with a modified walk that could include mask removal for a brief amount of time for photographs.
  • There will be no attendance for rehearsal.

Tickets are required for entrance to commencement. You must have a ticket by invitation of a graduating student, or be a volunteer, to attend.