A Commencement Message for the Class of 2022

June 09, 2022

Vice Chancellor Akirah J. Bradley-Armstrong offers congratulatory remarks to this year's graduates

Greetings, graduating Banana Slugs. On behalf of the Division of Student Affairs and Success, I am extending a sincere and enthusiastic congratulations to you, the class of 2022. We are so incredibly proud of you and your accomplishments. 

Though I just recently joined the UC Santa Cruz community, it’s already clear to me you are the reason our university is unique and special. I may not have met you yet, but because you have earned a UCSC degree, I believe I already know a bit about you:

You are resilient.

You completed your degree amidst a global health pandemic, a national racial reckoning, a local fire emergency, and the most tumultuous political discord of our time. 

You are flexible.

Despite these obstacles, you’ve persisted to achieve this milestone moment. 

You are adaptable.

You’ve taken online classes, hybrid classes, and recently readjusted to in-person classes. You’ve perfected the art of meeting via Zoom.

You are creative.

You’ve ensured that–no matter what–the important work of our nearly 200 student organizations continued, uninterrupted by any amount of social distance. 

You are a hard worker.

You’ve done whatever it takes to complete your required curriculum. 

You are a difference-maker. 

You care–deeply–about our community, our nation, and our planet. Where there is need, you strive to fulfill it. Where there is inequity, you work to overcome it. 

You are an arbiter of justice.

You recognize the injustices of this world and commit to resolving them. 

You are a change agent. 

You are a Banana Slug.

And very soon you will be a UC Santa Cruz graduate. 

As you look forward to your upcoming ceremonies and celebrations, I encourage you to savor your moment. 

Take it all in. 

Enjoy an extra few minutes with friends. 

Venture around your favorite parts of campus. 

Soak up the Santa Cruz sun.

Cruise the coast line one more time. 

Breathe in the redwoods and the bridges and this beautiful, beautiful campus. 

Breathe out accomplishment, accolade, and abundant pride.

Recall the trials and tribulations of your journey but rejoice because you overcame them. 

Embrace this achievement. 

Celebrate it.

Shout about it.

Dance because of it.

And then, after you turn your tassel and have that diploma in hand, go out into this world and do what you are destined to do. 

Carry with you the lessons and learnings of your time at UCSC. 

Embrace the responsibility of being a difference-maker. 

Dream of a better tomorrow.

Inspire change. 

Solve problems.

Demand justice. 

Get in good trouble.

Be the light our communities so desperately need. 

And, in all you do, please remember: wherever you go, you are still a Banana Slug.

Graduates, I congratulate you on this momentous accomplishment. 

I commend you for all that you have achieved, and I wish you the very best of luck in your next endeavors. 

Congratulations, class of 2022.