COLORADO SPRINGS — Nearly 1,600 graduates earned their degrees from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) on Friday, with more than 1,200 participating in the first in-person spring Commencement celebration since 2019.

UCCS awarded 21 doctoral degrees, 353 master’s degrees and 1,223 bachelor’s degrees to graduates during the commencement ceremony, hosted at the Broadmoor World Arena. 

Graduates and their families celebrated alongside UCCS faculty, staff and students. 25 graduates from the Classes of 2020 and spring Class of 2021 returned to walk across the Commencement stage after having celebrated their graduation virtually.

“Your triumph today is not just that you have succeeded in the face of difficulty — it is that you are stronger and better equipped to take on any obstacle that may come your way,” said Venkat Reddy, Chancellor of UCCS. “As you graduate today, you will go back out into the world – using the work of your minds and your hearts to make it a better place.”

In the morning ceremony’s keynote speech, Hadeel Khammash, a biomedical sciences major and Student Achievement Award winner, addressed the graduates: “The potential, talent and abilities of the people in this room cannot be captured with words.”

The ceremony also included a celebration of five Golden Graduates, members of the Class of 1972, who celebrated a 50-year milestone from their own UCCS graduation. 

Also celebrated were the first Bachelor and Master of Social Work graduates. In all, 29 students earned their degrees, in a win for both the graduates themselves and Colorado Springs social service programs, counseling centers, psychiatric hospitals, criminal justice facilities and the many Colorado Springs community members who benefit from community services.

“I can’t wait to see what you’ll bring to your communities and the world,” said Todd Saliman, President of the University of Colorado system. “The network of incredible people, and the knowledge, skills and experience you gained during your time here – all are forever part of you. All of it will help you get where you’re going.”