The 2016 commencement ceremony of the School of Information took place on Friday, April 29, recognizing four graduating classes and several outstanding individual students.

Thomas A. Finholt, dean of the School of Information, introduced the commencement speaker, Wael Ghonim, as “a man whose actions embody our mission to use information with technology to build a better world.” Ghonim achieved world-wide recognition by creating the Facebook page “We Are All Khaled Said,” an action credited with helping to spark the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.

Although Ghonim’s actions have led to exile from his native country, he says, “I believe there hasn’t been a time in our history where humans were so empowered, thanks to the internet.” Despite the revolution’s short-lived success, he says, “I remain determined to challenge the status quo. I am confident that the democracy we strive for in Egypt will happen.”

Paul Resnick, associate dean for research and faculty affairs, recognizing the seven 2015-2016 doctoral graduates: Alissa Centivany, Yung-Ju Chang, Ming Jiang, Karina Kervin, Yang Liu, Charles Senteio, and Rayoung Yang.

Elizabeth Yakel, senior associate dean for academic affairs, presented the annual student awards.

The Nikki Candelore Roda Student Impact Award went to Sonia Doshi (BSI ’16), who helped found the School of Information Bachelor’s Association and served as its first president.

The Edmon Low award, which recognizes an outstanding MSI student, went to Jola Bolaji (MSI ’16) and cited her involvement in numerous activities including recruiting, the Dean’s Search Committee, SOCHI and the class gift.

The school’s oldest award, the Margaret Mann Award, recognizes exceptional academic accomplishments and professional promise. The recipient, Natalie Yee (MSI ’16) led the team of students who organized the local celebration of World Information Architecture Day in February.

The John L King award was established in 2015 to recognize an outstanding bachelor’s student. The award went to Drew Dyer (BSI ’16), who combined his BSI studies with his enlistment in the Navy ROTC while actively participating in recruitment and peer advising programs at UMSI.

Dean Finholt announced a new award, the UMSI Innovator Award, made possible by a gift from alumnus Jerry Miller (AMLS ’86, PhD ’95). The award will go to students participating in the U-M Design Clinic or other design-oriented courses. The first recipients were a team of Design Clinic students who worked on the QuikOrder project: Isabel Gao, Yidi Hong, Shizhong Hu, Fernando Wang and Yi Yang.

Presentation of the degree recipients followed. The Class of 2016 is represented by 61 Bachelor of Science in Information graduates, 23 Master of Health Informatics graduates and 126 Master of Science in Information graduates.

You can watch other segments of the commencement ceremony on our YouTube channel.

View a gallery of photos from the 2016 Commencement ceremony on the UMSI Facebook page.