President Dean: Durham Undergraduate Commencement Address 2022

Commencement 2022: Durham Undergraduate Classes

President James W. Dean Jr.


Good afternoon, everyone and once again it is my great honor and privilege to welcome you to celebrate the Class of 2022…Congratulations, graduates!

We are here for the most important ceremony in your academic lives -- and one of the most important and joyful celebrations for everyone in our Wildcat family. What a beautiful sight it is to see you all together today.

I would like to take a moment to recognize those who have so selflessly and generously supported the Class of 2022:

At the top of the list of supporters are your families, loved ones and friends. Let’s recognize them with a round of applause.

I would also like to recognize those who have served our community, our state and our nation. This includes veterans and active members of our military, as well as police, firefighters and first responders. Thank you for your service.

Let’s also recognize those whose work so benefits our campus community: Our dedicated workers in food service, housing, transportation and facilities. We simply would not be able to host this celebration without them.

Today, we also honor all the outstanding members of our faculty and staff who have dedicated themselves to your success. They are why UNH is a national leader in many of the most important metrics in higher education. Thank you, faculty and staff.

As you may know, I also arrived at UNH four years ago, when many of today’s graduates were preparing to start the fall semester of 2018. What a remarkable four years we have had!

No one could have predicted that more than half of our time together would be marked by a pandemic, which challenged us in every conceivable way.

Yet, through it all, the Class of 2022 persevered, and while the main point of your four years was your learning, you taught us so much as well.

You demonstrated your determination to succeed through unimaginable challenges. You showed an uncanny ability to adapt to dramatic changes in academic, campus and social life. You wore masks and got tested regularly, which allowed us to keep our campus open much longer than many institutions.

You helped your classmates navigate an array of mental health and academic challenges that hit college students especially hard. In fact, I would like to pause here to recognize our UNH mental health counselors, academic counselors, and our health and wellness staff members. Thank you, all.

The Class of 2022 showed us how close and caring our UNH community is.

Despite myriad challenges, you excelled as scholars and researchers, as artists and athletes, as volunteers and advocates. You worked closely with your faculty mentors. You engaged in science to address real-world problems. You enjoyed great lectures, live performances and cultural fairs. You challenged yourselves, and each other, and our community to continue to create a better world.

You inspired new initiatives at UNH to promote diversity, equity and inclusion, and to address interpersonal violence. Thank you for working with us to bring our community forward, together.

Among you are those who won prestigious awards for research, public service, leadership, entrepreneurship and, of course, for outstanding scholarship.

In unprecedented times, you achieved unprecedented success.

You are uniquely prepared to thrive in a world that will bring new challenges and unimaginable opportunities. You have proven yourselves as talented, intelligent, innovative team members. You are community builders. Friends and classmates for life. And you will always be proud members of the Wildcat family.

Congratulations, graduates. Thank you for making UNH stronger by being part of our academic community.

We are excited to hear about the great futures that await you. So, stay in touch. And please know that you are always welcome to come back. And I hope that you will mentor and support new generations of Wildcats.

This is a great day for all of us! Thank you. And congratulations to the Class of 2022!