Graduating UNLV students look back on recent tragedy

Graduating UNLV students look back on recent tragedy

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — UNLV’s fall semester ended on a tragic note, but this week many students chose to come together to overcome this tragedy and preserve and celebrate their accomplishments.

On Tuesday, more than 2,000 UNLV undergraduates walked the stage at Thomas and Mack Center celebrating a milestone and earning their degrees during this difficult time.

A majority, about 88%, are Nevada residents. Many are the first in their family to graduate college including Chloe St. George who graduated with a bachelor of science degree.

“Being around other students really is what solidified me wanting to come to commencement and celebrate all our achievements,” St. George explained. “The faculty that passed away, the professors, I know they would have wanted us to be here to celebrate because they’re the ones who pushed us to do great things.”

“College is a lot more than just academics, but making yourself a well-rounded student,” St. George added. “Not just in class, but also as a citizen of the world. So juggling difficult academics and doing activities is a little hard.”

Isiah Robinson knows the struggle all too well.

“Once I graduate, I was thinking if I don’t find a really good job on the Strip or get any management positions, then maybe get into the Air Force and possibly get into cybersecurity,” Robinson said.

Robinson graduated with a hospitality degree. He attended UNLV through the HOPE Scholars program, which helps students experiencing homelessness.

“I’m just happy to be able to be here and even through those times, it’s not about the situation. It’s about how you can make the best of it and I was able to do it in 4 years time,” Robinson added.

UNLV President Keith Whitfield said the focus remains on healing and rebuilding and moving forward.

“It’s been difficult, it was a hard decision, but it was an easy one in one way. We’re not going to let one heinous incident wipe out 4, 6 years, sometimes longer of people being able to achieve their dreams in getting a degree,” Whitfield said.

“I think what you’re going to see out there is UNLV strong. It is who we are as a university, it’s who are as a community,” Whitfield added. “It’s so unfortunate that we’re coming back from another mass shooting incident, but I tell you this community has rallied around this university, it almost brings tears to my eyes. “

UNLV said winter graduates who would rather participate in the May 2024 ceremonies had the option to do so.

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