Great Grads for Fall 2021
DENTON (UNT), Texas — The first of 11 University of North Texas fall commencement ceremonies begins at 8 a.m. Dec. 10 (Friday) in the UNT Coliseum.
The university expects more than 5,842 students will cross the stage to celebrate completion of bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees throughout the three days of ceremonies.
The ceremonies will be hosted on the UNT campus in the Coliseum, 600 Avenue D, and in the Murchison Performing Arts Center, 2100 N. I-35 East, in Denton.
For media: Press passes, parking and interview opportunities contact Trista Moxley at Trista.Moxley@unt.edu or 940-369-7912.
UNT graduate story ideas:
Lauren Taylor has been a hockey player, a ballerina and a volunteer. She’s hunted, water skied, fished and designed new ways of interacting with the world. Lauren was born with muscular dystrophy, requiring her to live life on wheels in a power chair. But she never lets anything hold her back, using her own experiences to make immeasurable strides as an advocate. Lauren, who was Ms. Wheelchair Texas 2019, has used her influence and experiences to make life more accessible for everyone through advocacy for universal design and structures that can be used by everyone regardless of size, age or ability. She is a leading volunteer with the Dallas-based nonprofit To Be Like Me disability awareness program and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor-Associate.
Lauren’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 12 p.m. Sunday
Sarah Harper uses her experiences as a historian, a teacher, a military veteran and an artist to bring history to life. Her program at Heritage Village at Chestnut Square in McKinney, where she teaches visitors of all ages soap making, botanical illustration, jam making, fabric dyeing, sewing and other craft traditions, takes visitors back in time to experience life and crafting as it would have been done historically. The innovative curriculum she created to bridge the gap between art and the cultures that inspired it won her the 2021 Excellence in Historical Education Award from the Collin County Historical Commission.
Sarah’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 4 p.m. Sunday
When Michael (Clay) Moore graduated from Richland Collegiate High School in Dallas in 2017, no one in his family had ever graduated from college. Three years later, he earned his bachelor’s in computer science from UNT. Clay didn’t stop there. This December, he will add a master’s degree in artificial intelligence from UNT, the only university to offer such a program in Texas, and along with that, experience in the research, development and commercialization of a tool to deliver COVID-19 vaccines.
Clay’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 12 p.m. Sunday
Zarrin Bashir traces her interest in engineering back to her parents. Zarrin used to go to work with her father who was an engineer. She was fascinated by his notebooks filled with complicated equations. Her mother was a student in the information technology program at UNT. Watching her mother study and seeing the campus inspired Zarrin to want to attend UNT as well. Zarrin also discovered a love for art and realized that mechanical engineering allowed her to combine her passion for drawing and creativity with her fascination with math and science. She hopes to not only help make the world a better place through mechanical engineering, but also to encourage and inspire other women to pursue STEM careers if they’re interested.
Zarrin’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 4 p.m. Saturday
Meg Van De Walle found an encouraging community, a place to relieve stress and a career, all through the UNT Pohl Recreation Center’s Outdoor Pursuits Center. Growing up, Meg spent many hours outside in nature. UNT’s Outdoor Pursuits Center allowed her to continue that practice, leading hikes and camping trips and inspiring her to earn her master’s degree in recreation, event and sport management while creating experiences for other students, like a camping trip to Lake Ray Roberts State Park. She hopes to continue helping people enjoy the outdoors.
Meg’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 12 p.m. Sunday
Joselin Orta came to the United States from Mexico at age 16. She quickly found that while she had the drive to achieve her goals, she needed help learning the language. Through hard work, Joselin overcame her language barrier, but it inspired her to volunteer helping other ESL students. The first-generation student found many opportunities at UNT, including the opportunity to work with G-Force, UNT’s student outreach initiative sponsored through the Texas Work-Study Mentorship Program, and the Consulate-General of Mexico, leading a team in connecting the Hispanic and Mexican communities with information about educational resources.
Joselin’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Noor Almayahi came to UNT to study metalsmithing and jewelry and discovered an interest in intersectional environmentalism. She found herself drawn to the ecology program and the UNT Community Garden, a student-led project funded by the We Mean Green Fund. While working with the garden, Noor had the opportunity to dig into food sovereignty, the type of environmental work she hopes to continue after graduation. She helped streamline the process for donating the garden’s harvests to the UNT Food Pantry presented by Kroger and made education and community building a priority by hosting events such as Pick Your Own Produce and meal planning workshops.
Noor’s commencement: UNT Coliseum – 7:30 p.m. Friday