Congrats, Dearborn Wolverine graduates!

December 18, 2022

UM-Dearborn awarded nearly 800 degrees during the two Class of Fall 2022 commencement ceremonies on Dec. 17 in the Fieldhouse.

Photo of Class of Fall 2022 graduates
Photos by Scott Soderberg/Michigan Photography

UM-Dearborn celebrated Fall 2022 commencement on Saturday. Families cheered. Tassels turned. And nearly 800 graduates joined the U-M alumni family.

And Fall 2022 Commencement speaker and UM-Dearborn alum Judy Toland, ’01 MBA, gave some sage advice: This is all part of a lifelong-learning journey.

See the day in pictures and watch the videos.

Talking about her own career twists and turns during the two Dec. 17 commencement ceremonies, Toland — a global customer marketing vice president of Meta, formerly Facebook — shared how she started her post-undergraduate career as a chemical engineer before pivoting to marketing years later, becoming a major player at a company that reaches millions.

Photo of Judy Toland giving her keynote commencement address

“I can personally testify to the benefit of committing your life to learning and welcoming change,” she said during her address. “Commitment to lifelong learning grants you the permission to not have it all figured out right after graduation. It allows you the ability to extend yourself grace, to change, adapt, try, fail and then try again. It fosters humility because you don’t have all the answers and that is OK. Once you commit to this learning journey, you are no longer in a career hurry, worried about hitting certain marks or milestones because the world told you so.”

Photo of student speaker Zeinab Ajami

Toland also shared the importance of being “uniquely you” and cautioned that “comparison is the theft of joy” because everyone’s personal vision and the progression toward it is different. 

Her message resonated with the attentive grads, who ranged from ages 20 to 67. Student speaker Zeinab Ajami, a bioengineering major, echoed that sentiment in her speech.

“Whatever route you choose, you will always end up where you are meant to be,” Ajami said.

Ajami, who emigrated with her family from Lebanon to the United States 11 years ago, said she’s honored to have attended a school with a strong and diverse community in academics and culture. Ajami said that she and her Class of 2022 Dearborn Wolverines were given opportunities to grow thanks to the university and its faculty.

“We did the hard work and progressed to be the scholars we are today. The university played a huge role in that…I learned the significance of communication, was exposed to beautiful cultures and mastered new ways of learning. Each day was a new learning experience, not just mathematically and scientifically, but culturally and socially,” Ajami said.

Chancellor Domenico Grasso

After each graduate was recognized on stage — there were 542 bachelor’s degrees, 229 master’s degrees, a specialist degree and four doctoral degrees awarded — Chancellor Domenico Grasso spoke to the UM-Dearborn Class of Fall 2022.

Grasso, who is a U-M graduate, welcomed them into the alumni family and encouraged them to stay curious, keep learning and act responsibly.

“What you do and how you live impacts those around you in innumerable ways,” Grasso said. “You will have the chance to make a positive change in the world, and when that opportunity arrives, I hope you seize it.”

Article by Sarah Tuxbury.