Tomorrow's leaders: Class of 2017

Published: May 5, 2017

The 2017 commencement ceremony was Friday, May 12. Be part of the story: Use the hashtag #ForeverBuffs, follow the social media chatter on our commencement Storify page or watch the action live on YouTube and Facebook. We are proud of each and every graduate! 

Below, read about just a few of the talented, motivated and innovative students who are graduating and starting on their next adventure. Congratulations, Buffs!

Jasmin Torres: Mind of a philosopher, heart of an activist

If Jasmin Torres had a personal motto, it would be, "Sí, se puede." This Spanish phrase meaning, "Yes, you can," has defined the graduating senior’s life.

Miranda Viorst: Teaching yoga in prisons

Sociology graduate Miranda Viorst volunteers with The Prison Yoga Project in Boulder. She wrote an honors thesis from her interviews with former inmates of California’s San Quentin State Prison.

William Buxton: Finding a voice

When William Kristofer Buxton was younger, vocal nodules left him with "essentially no voice." After years of therapy, his voice returned, steering him toward a career in theater performance and speech, language and hearing sciences.

Maddie DeWinter: Embracing collaboration

Maddie DeWinter's time at CU has taught her a lot about teamwork and collaboration. "I've learned . . . you don't have to be in the spotlight to be part of that success. It's a lesson I will take with me long after I'm done playing lacrosse."

Toluwanimi Obiwole: Driving social change

Toluwanimi Obiwole, an ethnic studies major and Denver’s first-ever Youth Poet Laureate, shares her future plans of graduate school, slam poetry readings and driving social change. 

Nathan Moses and Jake Hurwitz: Revolutionizing business education

When Jake Hurwitz and Nathan Moses met, neither predicted they’d wind up as business partners. The two have teamed up on Eyesight Collective, a video series aimed at helping student entrepreneurs gain business skills by learning from industry leaders.

Patrita "Ime" Salazar: All in the family

By age 50, Patrita "Ime" Salazar had compiled an impressive list of personal and professional accomplishments. Now, after watching three of her daughters graduate from CU Boulder, it's finally her turn.

Meridith Richter: Storytelling with computer science

Meridith Richter’s journey from creative writing, to computer science, to the ATLAS Institute’s Technology, Arts and Media (TAM) program was one of self-discovery.

Adriana Alvarez: Improving bilingual education

As a child immigrant and bilingual student, Adriana Alvarez says she often felt isolated in school. Now graduating with a PhD, the former school teacher continues to promote biliteracy and challenge the injustices faced by emerging bilingual students.

Kaylee Ortega: Advocating for health equity

Kaylee Ortega credits a host of student groups, scholarships and support services with giving her the tools she needed to fulfill her academic dreams of pursuing public policy work to level the healthcare playing field for underrepresented communities.

Chidobe Awuzie: From Buff to Cowboy

When Chidobe Awuzie arrived at University of Colorado Boulder in 2013, he had a goal and a dream: to earn a college degree and the chance to play in the National Football League (NFL).

Nadya Hill: Jill of all trades

Nadya Hill is a vocalist, violinist, visual artist and full-stack Javascript web developer. As her time in Boulder draws to a close, Hill hopes to put her many skills to use wherever her path leads her next.

Lonnie Rickel: A childhood dream becomes reality

As a kid, Lonnie Rickel planned to enlist in the Army, never seriously considering college. CU Boulder provided the best of both worlds: the college experience with an ROTC program.

Sarah and Stephanie Meyers: Supporting future students with scholarship fund

With a $30,000 gift from their family foundation, twins Sarah and Stephanie Meyers established the a scholarship fund to support one or two first-year students in financial need.

Danny Rankin: Hacker, farmer, technologist, designer

Danny Rankin is a farmer, designer, artist, instructor, musician, hacker, coder, craftsman, husband, veteran and visionary. And this spring, he adds Master of Science to his credentials.

Haley Smith: Excelling on and off the court

If you follow Colorado basketball, you already know a few things about senior Haley Smith. But what you might not know is that Smith is the kind of student-athlete who makes Buffs fans proud to be Buffs fans.

Floyd Pierce: Racing around the world in high-definition

Last year, CU Boulder senior Floyd Pierce, raced around the world for $1 million as a contestant on The Amazing Race. CBS has aired seven episodes, and, so far, Pierce is still in the game.

Alexandra Okeson: Creating algorithms for healthcare

Computer science graduate Alexandra Okeson found her calling in the field while helping create algorithms to test medical devices. Now she's got her sights set on a PhD, focusing on algorithms for healthcare.

Monica Rowand: Integrating sustainability

Though her childhood dreams of playing professional sports fell through, Monica Rowand has lent her academic expertise to campus programs that bridge the gaps between athletics and sustainable practices. 

Michael Persinger: A student inspired by his father

Graduating senior Michael Persinger, intent now on medical school, thanks his father for helping him achieve his dreams. "He taught me to always keep pushing no matter what is thrown at me. . ."

Ozell Williams: Tumbling toward a bright future

Ozell Williams may be walking at this spring’s graduation ceremony, but he tumbled his way there. Now he hopes to leave behind a legacy at CU that will inspire future students and athletes.