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UNC 2022 Spring Commencement Ceremonies, May 6-7

Spring commencement 2022

April 27, 2022

The University of Northern Colorado held its spring commencement ceremonies Friday, May 6 and Saturday, May 7. Approximately 1,445 students graduated this spring with around 1,065 earning a bachelor's degree and around 380 earning a master's specialist or doctoral degree.

The spring graduates were joined during the ceremonies by approximately 400 students who will graduate in summer 2022, including approximately 219 undergraduates and 207 who will earn a master's, specialist or doctoral degree.

Doctoral Ceremony

The Graduate School hosted a ceremony for doctoral candidates on Friday, May 6, 7 p.m., in the Campus Commons Performance Hall.

Becky Alice De Oliveria

Student Speaker

Becky Alice De Oliveira
Doctor of Philosophy, Applied Statistics and Research Methods

Becky De Oliveira is an educator, writer, graphic designer, and, most recently, a research methodologist, having returned to higher education for a Ph.D. in Applied Statistics and Research Methods. She previously coordinated a master’s program at a university in Michigan, taught various writing and teaching methods courses, and helped doctoral students write dissertations. De Oliveira has published a collection of essays and two children’s books, along with dozens of articles, medical reports, advertising copy, radio scripts, book chapters, and academic articles. She worked for a top-10 healthcare advertising agency in the United Kingdom, creating a wide variety of promotional items. At the University of Northern Colorado, De Oliveira has served as program director for a three-year grant funded research project examining interventions to reduce sexual risk in adolescents and young adults. In December of 2021, De Oliveira was diagnosed with glioblastoma, a malignant and aggressive form of brain cancer, which has impaired her ability to read. Despite the challenges, she has continued to enjoy working on her research, and is especially looking forward to graduation! De Oliveira and her husband have two sons, ages 22 and 18.

Watch the video of the spring 2022 doctoral commencement ceremony:

Bachelor's, Master's, Specialist's Ceremonies

Alumna Neyla Pekarek '09, breakout musical theatre star and former Lumineers band member, delivered the commencement address at both ceremonies for bachelor's, master's and specialist's candidates on Saturday, May 7, at Nottingham Field.

  • 9 a.m.  — Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business, College of Natural and Health Sciences

Watch the video of the spring 2022 commencement ceremony for the College of Natural and Health Sciences and Monfort College of Business

  • 12:30 p.m. — Colleges of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Performing and Visual Arts

Watch the video of the spring 2022 commencement ceremony for the colleges of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Humanities and Social Sciences, Performing and Visual Arts

Sarah Marie Otto

student speaker
Kenneth W. Monfort College of Business

Sarah Marie Otto
Master of Business Administration, Business Administration: General Business

Sarah Otto is a veteran of the United States Army and has called Aurora, Colo., her home since 2007. A first-generation college graduate, Otto utilized her military benefits to earn her Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2009. Otto has spent most of her career in both the clinical and operational sides of healthcare. A self-proclaimed life-long learner, she began pursuing her Master of Business Administration to build on her foundation of business knowledge. During her time at the University of Northern Colorado, Otto participated in the Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Collegiate Program as a team member in 2021 and team leader in 2022. Otto credits the Daniels Fund, MBA faculty, especially Dr. Krahnke, Dr. Wanasika and her team members, for the ethical case competitions’ opportunities in expanding her educational experience. Otto is thankful for the overwhelming support and encouragement of her husband and four children as she focuses on her love of learning. After graduation, she aspires to move towards a human resources position and is considering pursuing a Ph.D. in order to teach ethical leadership and management principles to future generations.


Justin Thomas Venman

student speaker
College of Natural and Health Sciences

Justin Thomas Venman
Bachelor of Science, Chemistry

Justin Venman is a Colorado native who grew up in the Pikes Peak region. He is receiving his Bachelor of Science in Industrial Chemistry, with a minor in Earth Science. Venman chose the University of Northern Colorado for its small-town atmosphere and tight-knit community. During his time at UNC, Venman worked as a student advancement ambassador for the Annual Giving office, and was the president of UNC’s literary arts magazine, The Crucible. He would like to thank his family, his professors and his two roommates who were always there to cheer him on. 


Jaimie Leigh Horton-Hoffmeister

student speaker
College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Jaimie Leigh Horton-Hoffmeister
Master of Arts in Teacher, Education: Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education

Jaimie Horton-Hoffmeister is a Tennessee native who completed her undergraduate degree at Middle Tennessee State University. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Early Childhood Education and led many local initiatives for early childhood in her community. Since then, Horton-Hoffmeister relocated to Denver, Colo., teaching in an Elementary classroom for eight years. Her profession has led her to find a passion for teaching students of diverse backgrounds. Horton-Hoffmeister found the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse program at the University of Northern Colorado through ongoing professional development. This licensure requirement transformed into Horton-Hoffmeister pursuing her master’s degree in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Education. Through this program, Horton-Hoffmeister has learned what it means to meet the needs of all of her students. Equity, inclusion and culture have become defining words for her instructional practices, thanks to the University of Northern Colorado. Horton-Hoffmeister is also a proud daughter, sister and wife. Without her family, friends, coworkers and students, Horton-Hoffmeister could not have been a successful teacher and student throughout the completion of her master’s degree and would like to thank them for their ongoing support. The University of Northern Colorado has given Horton-Hoffmeister invaluable learning experiences to implement in her classroom and beyond in hopes of a better future for her students and their families.


Josephine Saige Walter

student speaker
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Josephine Saige Walter
Bachelor of Arts, Communication Studies and Bachelor of Arts, Journalism

Josephine Saige Walter is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in News and Multimedia Journalism and Communication Studies. Walter is a Colorado native who is a kind, vibrant and gregarious individual that has been able to surmount many things in her life. With her optimistic outlook, she always befriends all diverse walks of life and sees the good in everything. During her time at the University of Northern Colorado, Walter often could be found at all varieties of UNC events: sporting, performing or social. In the journalism department Walter enjoyed her time representing UNC on Bear News, their student-run newscast and as their social media representative. In the future she wants to expand her knowledge of communication, journalism and reporting by entering the media industry. Walter wants to see positive change in the world, and sees journalism as the perfect outlet to reach across the globe to make that change possible.


Bailey Anne Walder

student speaker
College of Performing and Visual Arts

Bailey Anne Walder
Bachelor of Music Education, Music Education

Bailey Walder is honored and excited to be chosen to speak at the May 2022 Commencement Ceremony. Walder is graduating today with honors, receiving her Bachelor of Music Education (emphasis vocal, piano, and general music for K-12) and minoring in Special Education. She has enjoyed working for the University of Northern Colorado as a student ambassador, new student orientation leader and Performing and Visual Arts Student Senator, as well as participating in several campus honors societies and organizations. Walder would like to thank her amazing family, incredible friends and all the faculty and staff at UNC for supporting her in this journey and helping her achieve far more than she ever thought she could. She looks forward to sharing the joy of music with the next generation as she joins the Colorado community as an elementary music teacher this upcoming school year.


Ceremony Details

  • Tickets aren't required to attend the ceremonies and there is no limit to the number of guests for each graduating student.
  • Due to extremely low COVID-19 transmission within UNC's community, face coverings are optional on campus.
  • Door open one hour prior to each ceremony.
  • Additional information is available on UNC's commencement webpage.

About UNC's Spring 2022 Graduating Class:

Student Numbers

  • Total number of students graduating: 1,445
  • Number of students earning a bachelor's degree: 1,065
    • Number who are first-generation students: 452 (42%)
  • Number of students earning graduate degrees: 380  (323 master's, 29 specialists, 28 doctorates)

Age Range

  • Undergraduate: 20-78
  • Graduate: 22-64

Average GPA

  • Undergraduate: 3.43
  • Graduate: 3.84

Most popular majors (by degree awarded):

  • Undergraduate: Business Administration, Psychology, Elementary Education, Nursing, Sport and Exercise Science, Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Graduate: Special Education, Educational Leadership, Music, Business Administration, Nursing, Sport and Exercise Science, Biomedical Science, Education

International countries represented: 13 (Bahamas, Belarus, Canada, China, El Salvador, Ghana, Hungary, Nigeria, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Sweden, United Kingdom)

States represented: 47 (Alabama, Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming)

Colorado counties represented: 46 (Adams, Arapahoe, Archuleta, Baca, Boulder, Broomfield, Custer, Delta, Denver, Douglas, Eagle, El Paso, Elbert, Fremont, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Hinsdale, Huerfano, Jefferson, Kit Carson, La Plata, Lake, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Mesa, Moffat, Montezuma, Montrose, Morgan, Otero, Ouray, Park, Phillips, Prowers, Pueblo, Rio Blanco, Rio Grande, Routt, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, Washington, Weld, Yuma)

Data regarding UNC's spring 2022 class is tentative as of April 26, 2022. Degrees are conferred June 2022.

Meet Some of our Spring Graduates

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