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Time to Celebrate: Winter Commencement

December 20, 2012

Dave Ottalini 301-405-4076

Crystal Brown (Day-Of) 301-789-6915

Commencement Banner


COLLEGE PARK, Md. - It's time to celebrate as 2,800 University of Maryland students get ready to graduate this December. They'll be joined by 1,322 August graduates.  The main winter commencement exercise takes place at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19 in the Comcast Center. Individual schools and departments will hold their own ceremonies on Thursday, December 20 at various times and locations. Please see the commencement website for details.

August graduates include 543 Terps winning bachelor's degrees, 527 master's degrees and 252 doctoral degrees. Candidates for December Degrees include 1635 bachelor's degrees, 830 master's degrees and 335 doctoral degrees.

The most popular undergraduate degree remains Criminology-Criminal Justice followed by Economics, Psychology, Accounting and Government & Politics. The most popular graduate degrees include Business & Management, Education-Curriculum & Instruction, Public Policy, Library-Information Science and Telecommunication. Ph.D. degrees lead with Education-Counseling and Personnel Services, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Education-Curriculum & Instruction and Electrical Engineering.

Guests are encouraged to arrive at least 45 minutes early to observe the traditional procession of students and faculty.

Updated Streaming and Live Broadcast Information

An archive of the main commencement exercise can be found online (requires the Silverlight plug-in) or you can watch the complete commencement event here:


The University of Maryland also streamed and broadcast live on UMTV the Robert H. Smith School of Business commencement exercise on Thursday, December 20, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. (Commencement Speaker: Barry P. Gossett).  All streaming events can be viewed on a smart device including phone and tablet devices.

Featured Commencement Speaker

Former NASA Astronaut Ken Reightler is the Fall, 2012 Commencement speaker at the University of Maryland.As a freshman at the U.S. Naval Academy, Kenneth S. Reightler, Jr. wasn't sure what he wanted to do with his life - until he watched the Apollo 11 moon landing. That historic event helped make "a lot of things" in his mind click. Reightler went on to become a test pilot and the chief flight instructor at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. In 1987, he joined the NASA astronaut program and piloted two shuttle missions. Upon retirement, he worked for Lockheed Martin before heading back to the Naval Academy to serve as the Robert A. Heinlein chair in the academy's Aerospace Engineering Department.

Reightler says the position lets him share his expertise and experience with another generation. "It provides me an opportunity to give back,” he says. “I can explain, ‘This is possible and this is how you do it.’ I have the operational knowledge in addition to the theoretical. I’ve built it, tested it and flown it.” Read more about Ret. Navy Capt. Kenneth Reightler on UMD Right Now.

Student Speaker

Zainab Hosseini, born in Tehran to Mexican-American and Turkish Iranian parents, speaks three languages. She entered college at age 15, she’s worked with refugees in Iran and volunteered with indigenous children in Mexico.

University of Maryland student Zainab Hosseini is the student speaker during the main commencement exercise at the University of Maryland, December 19, 2012.“Since I was a child, my mom got us involved in our community,” she says. “Even in summers when I went back to visit family, I would go out and find places to help.” A family science major and black women’s studies minor, Hosseini says the course “Race and the Juvenile Justice System,” followed by her family’s move to inner-city Baltimore, helped solidify her desire to work in underserved communities. It was was then Hosseini was able to see the inequities she’d studied in class.

Hosseini designed a study abroad program through La Universidad de las Americas in Mexico last spring. She had a great experience teaching English and volunteering in an organization for families in crisis. Locally, she helped young people as a team leader for America Reads*America Counts and as a mentor in Prince George’s County elementary schools. She plans to enroll in a joint master’s of social work and law degree program after taking time off for spiritual studies and to travel. Hosseini may not be sure of her specific career path, but knows it will reflect her upbringing.

Shuttle and Parking Information

UM ShuttleShuttle bus service will be available from the College Park Metro station to the Comcast Center between 5 and 7:30 p.m. and back to the station between 8:30 and 10 p.m. on Wednesday, December 19. Shuttle service will be available to and from the College Park Metro station on Thursday, December 20 throughout the day.

If you require accessible transportation for a disabled guest the day of commencement, please make arrangements by calling dispatch services at 301.314.0318. If you have parking questions, please call 301.314.PARK. Please see the winter commencement website for maps and driving directions.