Confetti flies over students during the 2018 Graduate Commencement ceremony in O'Shaughnessy Stadium on May 18, 2018 in St. Paul.

Commencement Weekend - 2018 Edition

Thousands of people gathered at St. Thomas May 18 and 19 to celebrate as more than 2,400 undergraduate and graduate students received their degrees, adding their numbers to the more-than-100,000-strong alumni network.

The weekend kicked off on a beautiful, warm Friday afternoon, as the senior class held a graduation-edition of the March Through the Arches tradition. St. Thomas community members, parents, family, alumni and friends lined the sidewalk leading toward Summit Avenue, applauding as members of the Class of 2018 – appropriately clad in purple T-shirts adorned with the words “Tommies Forever” – made their way from the lower quad through the iconic Arches.

“It was a ton of fun to walk with my friends who I’ve made over the past four years," senior Conor Kinney said. "When I first went through the arches, I went through with nobody I really knew. Now I got to march with close friends. It was pure joy.”


“It’s bittersweet," senior Roumany Phan said. "Yes, I’m excited to graduate. I think I’m ready to close this chapter and find a new one. I’m still looking for what that chapter’s going to be. I made a lot of memories here. At first, I was going to do three years here and two at the University of Minnesota, but after the first year at St. Thomas, I didn’t want to go anywhere else. I love my friends, the professors and the campus."

More than 1,300 undergraduate students received their degrees on Saturday morning, and O’Shaughnessy Stadium was filled with thousands more family, friends, faculty and staff as the university celebrated the accomplishments of so many Tommies.

“Graduates, the entire St. Thomas community shares your pride on this special day. This is my favorite day of the year!" president Julie Sullivan said. "It is the day we celebrate all you have accomplished and all you have become, as well as look forward with great excitement and anticipation to the next leg of your journeys."

“It’s really exciting. I’m ready to move on to the next stage, but I will always have St. Thomas in my heart," said Sarah Schuler ’18, who has accepted a consulting role with Boom Lab in Minneapolis. "I’ve built such great friendships and a great community here. I’m most looking forward to coming back once I’m established a bit more in my career and helping with alumni events and mentoring. Alumni helped me so much while I was here, so I want to pass that on.”

“It’s the last piece of the puzzle. It’s a happy day," said Sebastian Ky '18. "I’m the first in my family to graduate from college, so this is a big step for me and my family.”

Another 1,000-plus graduate students received their degrees Saturday evening, including Zeinab Yusuf Abdalla ’18 MA in autism spectrum disorders, who participated in the commencement ceremony one day after welcoming her new baby girl into the world.

“Thank you to the University of St. Thomas for being there for me, supporting me through nights and days that I was sick [during my pregnancy]," she said. "I made it – everything is possible!”

“After my undergraduate degree [in communication and journalism], I started working at the Lunds & Byerlys corporate office in their marketing department. I realized that communication and journalism served me well in the writing world … but an MBA was always on my bucket list," said Bridget Rissmann ’11, ’18 MBA. "Both of my parents received their master’s degree, and [getting a master’s degree] was always a dream of mine.”