More than 1,300 join UIndy alumni ranks


commencement-collageBreezy but beautiful weather greeted attendees May 3 at Key Stadium when UIndy took its Commencement celebration outdoors for the first time in a half-century.

More than 1,300 graduates were eligible to participate in the ceremony, and the football venue was configured to fit up to 10,000 spectators for the occasion. This year’s graduates included approximately 80 doctoral candidates, 359 master’s degree candidates, and 904 undergraduates, hailing from 28 states and 14 nations. To mark the new approach to Commencement this year—it was the first joint undergraduate/graduate ceremony since 2002, as well as being moved outdoors—UIndy decided to skip the guest speakers and awarded the opportunity to two of the graduates themselves, who were nominated and selected by their peers.

The students speak

The undergraduates were represented by senior Will Schnabel, 22, a Perry Meridian High School graduate who earned his bachelor’s degree in Communication. His student years have been marked by his involvement in theatre, summer internships with television’s “The Conan O’Brien Show” and the satirical news organization The Onion, and his receipt of the prestigious Honors College scholarship for a semester at Oxford University, where he studied British politics.

“It was fun, but a lot of work,” says Schnabel, who plans to pursue a career as a screenwriter. Graduate students were represented by Peter Brown, 36, a North Central High School grad who earned his Doctor of Physical Therapy degree. Originally a landscape architect, he decided to change course and was drawn to UIndy by its “Education for Service” philosophy. “I got tired of chasing the almighty dollar and wanted to help people,” says Brown. As a student in the Krannert School of Physical Therapy, he has spent time assisting an elderly ALS patient, working at a camp for stroke survivors in Colorado, and most recently interning at the IU Health Neuroscience Center.

Although some colleges this year banned self-portrait photos from their commencement exercises, UIndy President Rob Manuel urged the graduates to take out their phones and send selfies to the world, announcing their pending arrival. Within moments, UIndy was trending on Twitter. See the best postings on the #UIndyGrad Storify page at