Published: May 11, 2023

CU Boulder conferred more than 9,700 degrees today during a damp yet joyous commencement ceremony at Folsom Field in front of an estimated 22,000 family and friends. 

Due to weather conditions, the ceremony was slightly abbreviated. 

After introductory remarks from Bud Coleman, the university’s commencement marshal, Chancellor Philip DiStefano introduced the commencement speaker, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

Polis addressed the class of 2023, sharing how their education at CU Boulder has prepared them to tackle the challenges of the future. 

“As you go out into the world, I encourage you to think critically about the impact of AI [artificial intelligence] and other emerging technologies and to be proactive in shaping the future of education and beyond. With your knowledge, skills and passion, you are sure to make a difference and help create a brighter, more equitable future for all,” Polis said. 

Chancellor DiStefano then conferred degrees to the fall 2022 graduates and spring 2023 candidates: 7,157 bachelor’s degrees, 1,788 master’s degrees, 195 MBAs, 192 law degrees and 396 doctoral degrees. (These figures were updated on May 2 and could shift.)

Reflecting on the ceremony, DiStefano said he hopes the graduates are reminded of their role in democracy.

“Besides a degree, I want them to take away the principles of democracy: supporting free speech and thoughtful discourse; prioritizing fact over fiction in matters of policy and governance; and participating in the democratic process and encouraging others to do the same,” said DiStefano. “As graduates and permanent members of the Buffs community, you continue this important work beyond our campus.”  

This year’s class proved earning a degree is not defined by age. Alumni Association Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director Ryan Chreist recognized 17-year-old Brian Tan and 76-year-old Rita Garson for completing their undergraduate degrees in computer science and mathematics (Tan) and sociology (Garson).

Senior Class Council President Ethan Meyer concluded the ceremony by congratulating his fellow graduates. 

“Success, as we have come to know, is not a singular victory but an amalgamation of small wins,” Meyer said. “And it is through our commitment to celebration that we fuel the flames of our ambition, propelling ourselves to even greater heights.”