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University awards 1,260 diplomas during Fall 2018 Commencement

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Imari Eaglin, a 21-year-old from Baton Rouge, earned a bachelor’s degree in business management during Fall 2018 Commencement ceremonies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Friday.

She did it in three and a half years while maintaining a 4.0 GPA and participating in many student clubs and organizations, including the Black Women’s Leadership Association and the Student Government Association.

Eaglin understands the value of hard work. The trait helped her find a job before she was handed her diploma.

She recently landed a position with CGI’s Lafayette IT Center of Excellence, a 50,000-square-foot facility at UL Lafayette’s 143-acre Research Park. CGI is an information technology firm based in Montreal that has more than 250 centers worldwide and employs more than 400 people in Lafayette.

Despite the rigors of a full-time job, she will begin pursuing her MBA at the University this spring. Eaglin is prepared to assume the heavy workload “because I don’t want to limit myself. Education gives you options,” she explained.

Eaglin was among 1,260 graduates during Commencement exercises.

Doctoral candidates were hooded at the General Assembly bachelor’s and master’s degrees were conferred at ceremonies that were held at different campus locations.

Bachelor’s degrees were awarded to 1,068 graduates. Master’s degrees were awarded to 172 graduates. Eighteen graduates received doctoral degrees. Two graduate certificates were awarded.

Fall 2018 graduates represented 47 Louisiana parishes, 29 states and 26 countries. The class was comprised of 747 women and 513 men. The youngest graduate was 20; the oldest was 63.

Dr. Joseph Savoie, University president, told graduates during the General Assembly that “no geographic or religious or political or economic differences can break the sometimes imperceptible – yet always permanent – chords that bind us together.”

“Our lives and destinies are intertwined. They remind us that the choices we make invariably will affect someone else,” he said.

“Our collective future depends on the willingness of individual to be of service to someone else. Fulfilling this moral obligation is one of life’s most critical tests.”

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards gave the Commencement speech.

His leadership has helped reverse an almost decade-long trend of budget cuts that resulted in the largest shift in revenue sources for higher education in state history. The Louisiana Legislature hasn’t cut higher education funding for the past two years.

Edwards told graduates “I am supremely confident UL has prepared you for a successful future.”

“Its talented and dedicated faculty didn’t just teach you knowledge and skills, though they are critically important. Perhaps, more importantly, the UL experience taught you how to think critically and synthesize new information.”

“Your ability to learn throughout your life will be essential to your success and to the success of your family and our state.”

Alumnus Winfred Sibille, ’51, was awarded an honorary doctorate during the General Assembly.

A longtime advocate for education, Sibille has been a member of the University of Louisiana System’s Board of Supervisors since 1995. He has held many leadership roles during his tenure, including chairman of the board. Sibille is the longest-serving board member in UL System history.

Alissa Netto was named UL Lafayette’s Outstanding Graduate. Netto received an anthropology degree from the College of Liberal Arts.

Emily Covington was recognized with the Outstanding Master’s Graduate Award. Covington earned her master’s degree from the Department of Communication. 

Nine students were recognized as summa cum laude graduates for achieving perfect 4.0 grade point averages.

• Catherine Louise Domingues, who majored in nursing, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions.
• Matthew Charles Fleming, a kinesiology major, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education.
• Rheanna Claire Fontenot, who majored in health and physical education/kinesiology, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education.
• Dahlia Taha Khalifa, who majored in biology, received a bachelor’s degree from the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences.
• Anh The Le, a petroleum engineering major, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Engineering.
• Gregory Louis Leger, who majored in biology, received a bachelor’s degree from the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences.
• Margaret Theresa Storms, a sociology major, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts.
• Hannah Lynn Trahan, who majored in elementary education, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education.
• Thomas Quincy Wilmore, a psychology major, received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Arts.

See a list of Fall 2018 graduates.