The class of 2023 celebrated this weekend as the largest graduating class in the school’s history, IU President Pamela Whitten announced Saturday morning.
IU’s 194th undergraduate commencement celebrated thousands of students who had their freshman years cut short after being sent home at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a year of Zoom-instructed courses, students returned to campus for the last years of their college careers. In total, IU awarded more than 7,000 undergraduate degrees Saturday.
Graduate students were honored in a separate commencement Friday where they heard from student speaker Muna Adem. Adem graduates with a Doctor of Philosophy in sociology. In total, IU celebrated more than 21,000 graduates from 50 states and 132 countries this semester across the state.
Undergraduate ceremony student speaker Gayatri Thiru opened her remarks to her peers with a feeling of relief that those memories were now in the past for the class of 2023. Thiru graduated with degrees in neuroscience and finance and was involved at the university as a Dean’s Scholar, Hudson and Holland Scholar as well as a senior member of the Women’s Financial Association.
Thiru empathized with the soon-to-be graduates in attendance, who may not know what lies ahead after graduation. In spite of it, Thiru said, she asked attendees to seek out the positive.
“Find the beauty in your community and all things abstract that you may not yet know about,” Thiru said. “As humans, our ability to be lifelong learners is truly something so special.”
This year’s commencement speaker for both the graduate and undergraduate ceremonies was IU President Pamela Whitten. Whitten congratulated the students for their tenacity and spirit and reminded them of their lifelong Hoosier status.
“Remember this and remember each other,” Whitten said in conclusion. “All of Indiana University is proud of you for everything you have done and everything that you are about to do."
CLARIFICATION: This story has been updated to specify IU recognized its largest graduating class overall.