Irvine, Calif., June 7, 2023 —More than 8,200 students and their families will attend University of California, Irvine commencement ceremonies between Friday, June 16, and Tuesday, June 20, in the campus’s Bren Events Center.
Overall, UCI will grant 8,966 degrees to 8,507 undergraduates this academic year. Additionally, 1,815 master’s degrees and 393 doctoral degrees will be awarded. And in a testament to the school’s dedication to access and affordability, 46 percent of those receiving bachelor’s degrees are first-generation college students. This large percentage of traditionally underserved students is one reason why UCI has twice earned the No. 1 spot in a New York Times ranking of universities “doing the most for the American dream.”
“This graduating class highlights how well UCI is serving the people of our state by offering a world-class education to the best and brightest students, regardless of their financial circumstances, and acting as a powerful engine of upward economic mobility,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman.
Graduates will also benefit from the high value of a UCI education. Forbes has ranked UCI No. 1 in the country among public universities for “best value.” And U.S. News & World Report currently rates it the eighth-best public university in America. Money magazine has named UCI No. 3 among the “best colleges in the U.S.” And in the 2019 Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education rankings of the nation’s universities, UCI placed first for offering an inclusive, supportive learning environment.
In addition, the graduation data validates UCI’s continued status as a Hispanic-serving institution, a federal designation awarded to universities where at least 25 percent of undergraduates identify as Latino and at least half of all students get financial aid. This year, UCI will grant bachelor’s degrees to 2,114 Latinos, a number that has steadily increased for the past decade.
A schedule of graduation events, including cultural celebrations, is available on the UCI commencement website. Degrees will be conferred at 11 ceremonies over four days, with the following breakdown:
- Bachelor’s degrees: 8,966
- Master’s degrees: 1,815
- Ph.D.s: 393
- Doctor of Nursing Practice: 20 (this number is included in the Ph.D. total)
- Law degrees: 167 (conferred May 6)
- Medical degrees: 100 (conferred May 20)
- Community college transfer students earning bachelor’s degrees: 2,611
- Federal Pell Grant recipients earning bachelor’s degrees: 3,636
Here are the stories of three outstanding UCI graduates:
- As a child of immigrants from Haiti and El Salvador, Brandon Saint-Milfort sees many structural issues in the American healthcare system that disproportionately affect patients of color. His undergraduate studies at UCI in pharmaceutical sciences and political science have furthered his passion for finding solutions that address the medical needs of lower-income people. He believes that these fields of study should be considered together in order to properly serve all those who need healthcare. During his time at UCI, Saint-Milfort has had multiple leadership positions in the student-run PharmSci Alternative Careers Association and has been a peer academic advisor in the School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences. After graduation, he plans to take a gap year to gain more community-oriented volunteer experience and prepare himself for medical school. Saint-Milfort hopes, in time, to practice medicine in a setting that serves disadvantaged populations.
- Jessica Cai is a first-generation Chinese American student graduating this month with bachelor’s degrees in education sciences and English, as well as a minor in Chinese studies. She transferred to UCI from Irvine Valley College after a long stretch of hybrid learning to accommodate her rigorous training and packed schedule throughout 15 years of competitive figure skating and dance. Cai’s experience with online learning, even before the pandemic, sparked her interest in educational technology. The SAGE Scholar has pursued ed tech during her time at UCI through research with a number of labs, including the School of Education’s Science of Learning Lab, where she created an online math course that’s being used in four Orange County schools. Cai has also worked with the Measuring Undergraduate Success Trajectories project since arriving at UCI. Her most recent study has been on how roommates and housing affect the ways in which undergraduates engage with the university.
- Jazette Johnson will be the first Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in informatics from UCI’s Donald Bren School of Information and Computer Sciences. During her sophomore year of undergraduate studies at Spelman College, she began a research project focused on developing a music therapy app for people with dementia. At the same time, her grandmother was going through the last stages of dementia at home. She died the summer that Johnson completed her research. Since then, the native of both Mount Vernon, New York, and Savannah, Georgia, has continued to explore the intersection of technology and dementia care. Much of her research today focuses on using social media to support caregivers. During Johnson’s time at UCI, she’s worked with the nonprofit Alzheimer’s Orange County to understand the challenges they’re facing and help them find technology-driven solutions. An arm tattoo of a forget-me-not flower with her grandmother’s initials serves as a constant reminder to Johnson of the importance of what she does.
About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities and is ranked among the nation’s top 10 public universities by U.S. News & World Report. The campus has produced five Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 224 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $7 billion annually to the local economy and $8 billion statewide. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.
Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UCI faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UCI news, visit news.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.