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Diploma covers at 2023 spring commencement

University set to confer record number of undergraduate degrees at spring commencement

The University of Dayton expects to confer approximately 2,170 degrees, including an all-time high of approximately 1,710 undergraduate degrees, during commencement ceremonies May 4-5 at University of Dayton Arena.

The record for undergraduate degrees is 1,582, set in 2021. The record for overall degrees awarded at a spring commencement ceremony is 2,185, set last year. 

Final numbers will be confirmed in late June.

The ceremony for undergraduate students will be at 9:45 a.m. Sunday, May 5. The University's ceremony for the School of Law will be at 9 a.m. Saturday, May 4, with the ceremony for doctoral and graduate students to follow at 12:45 p.m. 

All graduation ceremonies will be streamed live at

The baccalaureate Mass will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 4, in the Frericks Athletic Center.

Hogan VanSickle will be among the University of Dayton School of Law graduates nearly eight years after a near-fatal car accident left her with quadriplegia. The accident and subsequent health challenges that also threatened her life inspired her to pursue a law degree. 

"My accident was a catalyst to pursue a career in law. The personal and systemic challenges I faced during my recovery, ranging from battling inadequate care in a long-term facility to confronting legal and bureaucratic hurdles to receive necessary medical support, exposed the profound gaps and injustices within our systems," she said. 

Even with ambitions of law school before her accident, VanSickle, who was working full time, had no law schools near where she lived. With her recovery and the difficulty of transferring Medicaid benefits to another state, law school seemed out of reach until she discovered UD's hybrid J.D. program that she could do from anywhere. 

"The hybrid JD program at the University of Dayton was a transformative moment, not just for me, but potentially for others grappling with similar difficulties. Before this program, my ambition to practice disability law was merely a shadow dream — an aspiration that seemed unattainable due to my significant physical disabilities and logistical challenges. But this innovative program dismantled the traditional barriers that limited access to legal education, allowing me and others with disabilities to engage fully in our studies," VanSickle added. "The program's flexibility empowered me to immerse myself in North Carolina's disability rights community, fostering meaningful connections with remarkable disability rights attorneys. This firsthand engagement, sustained throughout my studies, not only enriched my comprehension of the law but also familiarized me with the abundant resources in my local area."

After law school, VanSickle said she plans on continuing her work with governmental agencies and advocacy groups such as Disability Rights North Carolina and the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address legislative reforms that will provide better support and rights for people living with disabilities. Her ultimate goal is to champion systemic changes that enhance accessibility and equality, ensuring individuals with disabilities are empowered to live full and independent lives.

"As Ruth Bader Ginsburg aptly noted, 'So often in life, things that you regard as an impediment turn out to be great, good fortune,'" VanSickle said. "What many perceived as insurmountable barriers have turned out to be the very stepping stones I needed to fulfill my dreams and make a meaningful impact. 

"I am not graduating from the University of Dayton School of Law hybrid JD program despite my disability, I am graduating because of it." 

Audrey Musselman, a UD Sinclair Academy student from New Carlisle, Ohio, will get her B.S. in dietetics at age 44, the same age as when her mother earned her bachelor's degree. 

"My mom finally received a bachelor’s degree when she was 44 years old and it was very important to her that I pursue higher education. She passed away during my first full semester so she will not see me graduate, but at least she knew I was on the path," Musselman said. "I chose to study nutrition partially because my son has Celiac disease. We were working with a dietitian and I remember thinking, 'This is something I could do.' In researching my son’s condition, I found nutrition very interesting to me."

After graduation, Musselman, who has been working in UD Dining Services under dietitian Ligia Lopes since March 2023, will begin the combined masters of dietetics and nutrition and Premier Dietetics Internship program at UD.

For interviews, contact Shawn Robinson, associate director of news and communications, at 937-229-3391, 937-545-5421 or Media are welcome at graduation ceremonies and the baccalaureate Mass but are not permitted on the floor. Media can get video or photos from the concourse areas provided they do not interfere with spectators. No University administrators will be available for interviews on graduation days. Media are free to approach students after the ceremony and identify themselves as members of the media to request interviews.


News and Communications Staff