The annual March Through the Arches, undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies bring the St. Thomas community together to recognize the accomplishments of the Class of 2019. Sights and Sounds highlight some of the many thoughts, experiences and memories from the year’s biggest celebration of Tommies.

Today more than 1,200 graduate students became the newest alumni from St. Thomas. #UST2019

President Julie Sullivan enthusiastically welcomed the newest University of St. Thomas graduates on their special day.

“This is the day that the Lord has made,” she 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.”

Confetti flies above graduates during commencement on May 25.

Commencement speaker Lee Anderson ’05 LL.D., owner and chairman of APi Group Inc. and a trustee emeritus on the Board of Trustees, reflected on the importance of St. Thomas to him.

“To me, [being a Tommie] means being a part of a large group of people – especially in the Twin Cities – that are very successful and wonderful to be around,” he said. “It’s a privilege and an honor to give the commencement address today.”

Anderson encouraged graduates with inspirational and humorous stories about his father.

Even though Anderson’s father was a plumber, indoor plumbing wasn’t installed in the family house until Lee was 10 years old. The elder Anderson said, “Using an outhouse builds humility.”

“I was quick to say I thought I could still be humble with indoor plumbing,” Lee said.

Anderson described his father as the smartest man he ever knew, even though his father only had an eighth grade education. His father applied on Lee’s behalf to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where Lee ended up graduating with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. (Lee instead was thinking about going to Harvard University to play football.)

“My dad was never wrong,” Anderson said. “[Going to West Point] was the best decision I ever made. … The great education and the discipline were just what I needed.”

Instead of making the military a lifelong career, Anderson joined his father in the plumbing business due to his father’s health. Anderson recounted the last night that he spent with his father.

“Around 8 p.m. he said, ‘You should get on the road.’ I got up and walked to the door. I had this strong urge to turn around and look at him. He was watching me of course, and then said, ‘Don’t worry, you’re going to be all right.’ I clearly heard him, but I took him to say that he was going to be all right.”

Anderson said that he considered St. Thomas students “some of the best in the world” and closed by saying, “All of you graduating here tonight will be all right.”

Virginia Hubbard Morris, a third-generation broadcaster and chair and CEO of Hubbard Radio, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

Graduates reflected on their accomplishments, including how they balanced work, school and family, and how their degree will propel their careers.

“[This degree] will help me further my own goals. In the future, I possibly want to teach software engineering or computer science at a college. … I want to thank the University of St. Thomas for giving me the opportunity to be able to achieve something that I’ve been looking forward to for a long time.” – Isaiah Soung ’19 MS in software engineering

“My degree will help me better differentiate for my students in my classroom as an elementary teacher.” – Leah Junker ’19 MA in special education

“Not procrastinating and being very organized with what needs to be done, when to make sure I had enough time with work to get those things done was important to balancing work and school. … This degree will open up the door for anything mental health-related or clinical-related.” – Jordyn Hubin ’19 MSW

Frank Wilderson kisses his daughter on stage during the 2019 Graduate Commencement Ceremony in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on May 25, 2019 in St. Paul.

Frank Wilderson kisses his daughter on stage during the 2019 Graduate Commencement Ceremony in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on May 25, 2019 in St. Paul.

“It’s kind of bittersweet. You know it’s the end of another era. The high school was one, the undergrad was one … You finally as a parent go ‘completely adult now’ … I take great pride in knowing that she has been completely successful in her education and her drive to continue her education is very rewarding as a parent.” – Melissa Hubin, Jordyn’s mother

“I had a really good study abroad program. I went to Copenhagen, Sweden and Norway. … The MBA will help me progress further along in my career in management roles and potentially lead engineers to create great innovative products.” – Sean Ali ’19 MBA

“I had to balance work and my degree, so I did the weekend cohort, which was a huge help and that’s why I was able to do this. I also have three daughters that are all one year apart, so I balanced it with that as well.” – Brooke Monson-DeBoer ’19 MSW

“I really enjoyed being in a cohort model with my peers who were at the same place professionally and educationally. … I’m happy and sad at the same time for commencement. With the cohort model, we grew close with each other’s families, spouses and children.”  – Anthony Untiedt ’19 MBA

“My degree has helped with my teaching career and the skills that I learned throughout my classes. … I had a very good support system helping me out.” – Casie Klockmann ’19 MA in educational studies

“Watching our daughter Aleda and giving Casie study time when she needed it was important to supporting her.” – Eric Klockmann, Casie’s husband

“I did the Part-time Flex MBA, which made it doable to work and then go to school in the evening. I can already tell that my degree is going to have a positive impact.” – Laura Hennen ’19 MBA

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