Nearly 1,400 earn diplomas


2015_Grad_1157-(1)Award-winning writer and MacArthur Fellowship winner Edwidge Danticat was the featured speaker and honorary degree recipient May 2 at UIndy Commencement exercises. A short list of Danticat’s awards includes the Pushcart Prize for her short fiction, which has appeared in the New Yorker and the New York Times; an Oprah Book Club selection; a National Book Award nomination; National Book Critics Circle and PEN/Faulkner nominations; and the National Book Critics Circle Award. In 2009, Edwidge Danticat was named to the prestigious MacArthur Fellows program, receiving its $500,000 “genius” grant.

Nearly 1,400 students from 25 states and 24 nations earned their diplomas, one of the largest graduating classes in the University’s history. All told, diplomas conferred on the home campus comprised 84 doctoral degrees, 370 master’s degrees, and 925 undergraduate degrees. The ceremony included remarks from two graduating students, one representing undergrads and one representing graduate students. Emily Bielefeld, a 2011 Westfield High School graduate and double major in Information Systems and Operations & Supply Chain Management, has since begun work as an associate of project planning for global pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly & Co. She landed the post back in October, after apparently impressing the staff during her internship there last summer. “I am beyond excited to start my job,” Bielefeld says, expressing gratitude to her professors for their support and encouragement.

Brandon White, a 2009 grad of Silver Creek High School in Sellersburg, earned his MA in International Relations and is eyeing a career in foreign affairs or defense policy—after serving a second congressional internship in D.C. and joining the U.S. Army Reserve to become a Civil Affairs specialist, assisting military and emergency response operations by serving as a liaison to local residents, civilian aid agencies, and other groups. “It provides a certain level of credibility if I’m going to be working in foreign affairs or defense,” which is his broader career goal, he says.