NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma conferred more than 10,200 degrees to students at the 131st Commencement ceremony, held this evening at the Lloyd Noble Center. The ceremony, a time-honored tradition filled with pageantry, celebrated students who completed their coursework during the spring 2023 semester, as well as summer and December 2022 graduates.
OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. led the processional of distinguished guests, faculty, doctoral graduates, PE-ET Honor Society members, banner carriers selected by their colleges, and students bearing international and Native Nations flags, with music provided by the Pipes and Drums of the Highlanders and the University Commencement Choir and Band. Following the processional, attendees were invited to stand for the presentation of colors by the Kiowa Black Leggings Society.
During his remarks, Harroz noted how graduates’ time at OU has shaped who they have become.
“Tonight is not just about what you’ve done while you’re here at OU; tonight is about what you will do now that you’re an OU graduate,” Harroz said. “It goes back to how I like to summarize the meaning of life, and that is to love, and if you can, make a difference. Every single person graduating tonight with a degree from the University of Oklahoma has the ability to make a difference.”
Attendees also heard from this year’s Commencement speaker, Randall Stephenson, OU alumnus and former chairman and chief executive officer of AT&T Inc.
In his Commencement address, Stephenson acknowledged that the undergraduates in the Class of 2023 began their college careers in the fall of 2019, only to have their OU experience disrupted several months later by the pandemic.
“Despite the difficulties of the pandemic, here you are. You’re ready to walk across this stage, grab your diploma and move on to your next chapter … no other generation could have pulled that off,” he said.
Stephenson left the graduates with this message, “You’ve been trained by this amazing institution to seek knowledge, to be curious, to question and understand everything, and I hope you never lose that.”
Major General Theresa C. Carter and Ronnie K. Irani were presented with honorary degrees in recognition of their extraordinary achievements and generous service to the university and society.
During the ceremony, Harroz called attention to several graduating students with outstanding accomplishments – including former OU quarterback Jalen Hurts, who graduated with his Master of Human Relations degree. Hurts, who now plays for the Philadelphia Eagles, earned his degree through OU Online.
The ceremony concluded with the singing of the OU Chant and Oklahoma!, as guests and graduates displayed lights on their phones as a salute to the Class of 2023.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit ou.edu.