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Student Commencement Speakers to Share a Message of Unity and Perseverance

May 11, 2022

In front of more than 1,400 fellow Bobcats, Cathryn Flores and Maya Morris, the student commencement speakers for the Class of 2022 will share their words of congratulations and encouragement with their fellow graduates.

Flores will speak to the graduates of the School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts (SSHA) at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, at the university’s Recreation Field. The Fremont native is majoring in English and minoring in writing. She said her four years at UC Merced have molded her into the person she is today.

Cathryn Flores

“I am proud to have been the music director and film scorer for ‘Ricardo II,’ — the Central Valley's first bilingual, Spanish-English Shakespearean Web series presented by Merced Shakespearefest and produced in collaboration with UC Merced alumni, students and faculty,” Flores said.

Flores begins her studies at UC Davis this fall as a Ph.D. English student and over the summer, she plans to release new original music under her artist project name "KATT."

“Working toward a college degree amid a global pandemic was anything but easy, but the work and resilience the UC Merced Class of 2022 has possessed throughout their undergraduate career deserves to be acknowledged, congratulated and immensely celebrated at this year's commencement.”

Maya Morris

On Sunday at 10 a.m., Morris will speak to the schools of Engineering and Natural Sciences. The fourth-year undergraduate grew up in Danville and is majoring in chemical sciences with a chemistry emphasis. She said UC Merced gave her opportunities to flourish and work alongside renowned researchers.

“I’ve been working on a project designed and directed mostly by myself, with the help of Sora Kim my PI, and I’m on track to have a paper published by the end of summer,” Morris said. “Our college experience has been unique, most of it not being spent on campus or being able to see others while still going through normal college stress. If we can all succeed and make it to graduation, we can get through anything.”

After graduation Morris will attend UC San Diego to get her master’s and Ph.D. in analytical and atmospheric chemistry.

Commencement festivities begin Friday, May 13, at 6 p.m. on the Recreation Field and will honor the classes of 2020 and 2021, which had virtual commencements due to the pandemic.