Stories of Victory Among UC Riverside’s 2018 Graduating Class

UCR’s 64th Commencement includes School of Medicine’s Hippocratic oath ceremony

2017 commencement ceremony.

UCR Highlanders celebrate their achievements at the commencement ceremony in 2017.ucr file

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) – The 64th commencement at the University of California, Riverside, will celebrate 5,888 graduates eligible to receive their diplomas this year.

UCR will welcome thousands of families and friends for the ceremonies scheduled from June 15-19. UCR’s School of Medicine celebrated its commencement and Hippocratic oath ceremony on June 1.

Here’s how the class of 2018 breaks down by degree: bachelor’s (4,930), master’s (578), doctorate (305), M.D. (49), teaching credential (26).

All ceremonies will be held on Pierce Lawn, east of the bell tower. Guests who are sensitive to heat may view the graduation ceremonies in the University Lecture Hall or Watkins 1000. These lecture halls are climate controlled and will broadcast a live video-feed of each ceremony on a large screen. Tickets are not required for entrance. Each ceremony will be streamed via a webcast, please see the links below for each ceremony.  

The graduates’ journeys at UCR have been filled with moments of grit, resilience, and victory. One of the graduates, Mina Hanin, will speak at the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences and the University Honors program commencement ceremonies. Here is a look at some members of the class of 2018:

  • Edgar Ortega: Raised in a dangerous neighborhood, Edgar Ortega overcame a debilitating injury suffered during a car crash before entering UCR’s medical school. Last week, the 31-year-old walked with his graduating class from the School of Medicine, a feat which he probably wouldn’t have imagined in 2007 when he came to the U.S. from Mexicali, Mexico.
  • Joe Leavenworth: For Joe Leavenworth, an interest in art and photography came from an unlikely source — the pages of skateboarding and BMX magazines.  In 2014, Leavenworth published his first art book, featuring photographs taken between 2009 and 2012 that document his travels through the American South. Although raised in Woodbury, Conn., Leavenworth was born in Decatur, Ga., where he was adopted shortly after birth. His book was inspired by Leavenworth’s interest in his estranged relationship to the South.  
  • Lusiana Wainiqolo:  Lusiana Wainiqolo has always thought like an economist, looking for the best payoff and best path toward her goals. Classes at a community college sent her on a trajectory to receive a bachelor’s degree in business economics from UCR. She is the first person in her Fijian family to graduate from college. 
  • Mina Hanin: Mina Hanin’s confidence grew out of the challenges he faced leading up to his studies at UCR. As a teenager, Hanin moved from Egypt to the U.S., where he learned to speak English fluently for the first time. After being attacked by a group of religious extremists, Hanin’s family fled to the U.S., leaving their lives in Cairo behind.
  • Shannon Sweitzer: Shannon Sweitzer carries life lessons from her father during her UCR journey. The 21-year-old Moreno Valley native achieved many triumphant moments, all worthy of a stage. A first-generation college student, Sweitzer was one of few females in her upper division math classes. Now, she is graduating with a 3.94 GPA and is the recipient of several national awards.  
  • Souradeep BhattacharyaSouradeep Bhattacharya had trouble adjusting to his newfound freedom, and was placed on academic probation during his first year at UCR. But he rebounded. After getting back on track, Bhattacharya joined the Electrical and Computer Engineering department’s information technology team and by his final year, Bhattacharya had co-authored a peer-reviewed article about ways to improve navigation systems on long-term evolution, or LTE receivers, calculation, and performance.
  • Taylor Brown: When track and field sprinter Taylor Brown transferred to UCR, she was prepared to leave a legacy. She is UCR’s nominee for the 2018 NCAA Woman of the Year award, which honors the academic achievements, athletics excellence, community service, and leadership of graduating female college athletes.

Commencement Schedule 

 Friday, June 15 

Saturday, June 16 

Sunday, June 17 

Monday, June 18 

Tuesday, June 19 

See more commencement activity here 

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-2653
E-mail: SandraB.Martinez@ucr.edu

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