Commencement Speakers Spring 2015

Graduate Commencement

Spring 2015 Graduate Speaker - Dr. Holly Porter


Dr. Holly Porter, the director of the English Language Acquisition department in the Cherry Creek School District, has more than 17 years of specialized experience in the field of education. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish: Bilingual/Bicultural Elementary Education, a Master of Arts degree in Special Education: Moderate Needs with an endorsement in Deaf Education, an Educational Specialist degree in educational leadership, and a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership, all from the University of Northern Colorado.

Dr. Porter has served in several Colorado school districts as well as at the Colorado Department of Education. She is an adjunct professor for Regis University, University of Colorado and Adams State University.  Dr. Porter recently received recognition as the Language Culture and Equity Director of the Year for the State of Colorado, and the department she supervises received an Excellence Award from the State for high growth and achievement of the students in their program.

Dr. Porter, a fifth generation Coloradan, was born and raised in Aurora, CO. and in her free time loves to enjoy the Colorado outdoors through snowboarding, hiking and Jeeping with her husband and son.  She also enjoys scrapbooking, cooking, and gardening.

Undergraduate commencement


Spring 2015 Undergraduate Speaker - James M. Lyons


James M. Lyons is a partner with Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP who focuses his practice on complex business ‎litigation and domestic and international mediation and arbitration. He has more than 40 years of courtroom ‎and jury trial experience in state and federal courts.

‎‎From 1996-2001 Lyons served as Special Advisor to the President and Secretary of State ‎for Economic Initiatives in Ireland and Northern Ireland under President William Jefferson Clinton.

During that period, Lyons also served as United States Observer of the International Fund for Ireland (IFI), where he helped to oversee grants, loans and investments made by the IFI in support of peace and reconciliation.  

His integral work in these positions helped to pave the way for the Good Friday ‎Agreement of April 1998, which restored social and political stability in Northern Ireland.

Lyons recently published an account of this critical period in Irish history in the book, Peace Meets the Streets: On the Ground in Northern Ireland, 1993-2001.

In 2009, Lyons was appointed Ireland's Honorary ‎Consul in the Denver Metropolitan area by Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Micheál ‎Martin.

He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, the International Academy of Trial Lawyers and the Litigation Counsel of America. He has four times been selected Top Super Lawyer by his Colorado peers.

Past Commencement Speakers

View the list of UNC's many past inspirational Commencement speakers.

Fall 2014 Speeches


7:00 p.m. fall Graduate ceremony

Keynote Speaker - Rodger Bybee

Student Address - Judd Brendon Farner

9:00 a.m.fall Undergraduate ceremony

Keynote Speaker - Patricia Fornes

Student Address - Julie DeJong

12:30 p.m. fall Undergraduate ceremony

Keynote Speaker - Patricia Fornes

Student Address - Julie DeJong


Nominate a Keynote speaker or student address

If you would like to nominate an individual to speak at UNC, please follow the instructions on the nomination form.

Nominate a keynote speaker form (PDF)

Nominate a keynote speaker form (Word)

Student Speaker Application (PDF)

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