Bulldogs, Hats Off to You

May 6, 2022

UMD resumes in-person commencement this Saturday

UMD’s 2022 Commencement is happening this Saturday, May 7, 2022 at AMSOIL Arena, 350 Harbor Drive. There are two ceremonies:

Meet the Grads and Student Speakers

This year 2,469 Bulldogs are graduating: 2,027 undergrads, 221 graduate students, three doctoral students, and 218 master's degree students.

The morning student speaker is business student Kayla Nelson from the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, and the afternoon speaker is anthropology student Eliza Woods from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Kayla Nelson

Kayla Nelson

Kayla’s trajectory into business started young and hasn’t faltered. In fact, visiting the Labovitz School of Business and Economics building motivated her to switch from plans to attend college in the Twin Cities and become a third generation Bulldog instead.

Her extracurriculars complement her passion. Within the Labovitz School of Business and Economics, Kayla is president of the Sales Club, and a member of the Unit Change Team and Outreach Committee. She’s also been a Resident Advisor for three years, which adds to her leadership experience. “I’ve had some impactful mentors, and now I want to pass that alonga ripple effect.”

Her advice to those she mentors is to get involved early and often to garner the full value of experiences, adding, “If you do something that you don’t like, it’s bringing you one step closer to what you do like.”

After graduating with degrees in marketing, graphic design, and sales, Kayla is heading to Fort Myers, Florida, to be an account manager with Gartner.

Eliza Woods

Eliza Woods

Eliza Woods, who comes from a village near Madison, Wisconsin, that’s no bigger than her college graduating class, chose Duluth for the scenery and stayed because of the connections she made at UMD.

They formed while she participated in an impressive list of extracurriculars, including as a dancer with the Attitudes Dance Association, a Black Student Association member and former executive, the UMD NAACP co-vice president, and a UMD cheerleader.

Eliza says she was inspired to study anthropology when she read Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, who was also an anthropologist and activist. Eliza believes that an anthropological perspective goes beyond the surface to give light to marginalized voices and helps us appreciate the multiplicity of the human experience.

Included in this is her own family, whose legacy includes moving to the north from the south as part of the Great Migration. “I love to learn about my history and see it forward. Reclaiming this identity is a huge motivator for studying anthropology.”

Despite rigorous academics and community involvement, Eliza finds time for hobbies like dancing, reading, knitting, and roller skating.

She leaves Duluth with two priorities for her next venture: maintaining happiness and pursuing her passions.