In addition, the UALR community will bid farewell to the first group of 10 Rwandan students who came as UALR Presidential Scholars. They are representatives of the country's top high school graduates selected for the program that is helping the central African country rebuild its intellectual capital in the wake of its 1994 war and mass genocide. [Click here for more on these students].
The first ceremony at 9:30 a.m. in the Jack Stephens Center will include graduates of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; the College of Education; and the College of Professional Studies.
The second ceremony will be at 3 p.m. with graduates of the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT), the College of Science and Mathematics, and the College of Business.
The ceremonies will be streamed live over the internet.
In between the two events at the Stephens Center, the graduation and hooding ceremony for graduates of the William H. Bowen School of Law will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the Wally Allen Ballroom of the Statehouse Convention Center.
Walking in the afternoon ceremony will be Ryne Ramaker of Bentonville, leading the procession in the silver robe that signifies him as the 2012 recipient of the Edward L. Whitbeck Memorial Award, UALR's top academic prize.
The senior, who graduates with a B.S. degree in biology, arrived at UALR in the fall 2008 and was selected for UALR's Donaghey Scholars Program and the Science Scholars Program - the first student accepted to both programs. He will graduate with a 4.0 grade point average.
Nearly 1,500 students applied for graduation. Here are a few of their stories:
- Gavin Lee, a native of Cambridge, England, will be the first graduate of UALR's Ph.D. program in criminal justice in the morning ceremony. He was a student at the University of California at Irvine, heading to a graduate program in Florida when he met Dr. Jeffrey Walker, who directs UALR's Ph.D. program in criminal justice. Lee and his wife will be working on criminal justice issues in the Delta after graduation.
- Penn Ross Jackson will receive he will receive a B.A. degree in Theatre Arts at at morning ceremony, the first of his family to graduate from a four-year college. Before he turned 16, he saw hisfather leave the family, had to live with his mother out of a car on the streets of New Orleans, was diagnosed with a brain tumor, and underwent surgery. Then Hurricane Katrina hit. "Thanks to my mother, I have achieved so much and overcome the odds and adversity to get where I am today, looking into the light of a bright and successful future," he said. She and Jackson's step-father will be on hand to witness the milestone. In the fall, he will enroll in the masters of fine arts program at the University of California, Irvine to continue his studies in stage management