You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, May 4, 2013 : 11:28 a.m.

University of Michigan students graduate and prepare 'to take the next step'

By Kellie Woodhouse


University of Michigan graduates during Saturday's commencement ceremony at Michigan Stadium.

Courtney Sacco |

  • Related coverage: Images from University of Michigan's spring 2013 commencement
  • Previous story: Michigan Memories: University of Michigan commencement speeches through the years
  • Related story: Twitter CEO Dick Costolo tells University of Michigan graduates: 'Be bold'
  • More than 5,000 University of Michigan graduates came together Saturday at Michigan Stadium to celebrate what many described as the greatest accomplishment of their lives, and now they'll disperse all over the world.


    A graduate looks out at the Big House as she makes her way through the stadium during the University of Michigan's spring commencement, Saturday May 4.

    Courtney Sacco |

    Some are going to medical school or applying to graduate programs, others are traveling around Europe. Many have taken jobs far away from Michigan, from engineering toys in Texas to facilitating ATV tours in Alaska. Some are waiting in Ann Arbor as they look for a job.

    "It's exciting. I definitely am not sure if I'm ready to take the next step, but I really don't have a choice now do I?" joked Sam Lewis, a public policy major who is staying in Ann Arbor this summer and then going to Washington, D.C. in the fall. He's still looking for a job. "It's overwhelming. It's a lot to celebrate."

    Roughly 5,900 undergraduates and 4,400 graduates are receiving their degrees this spring. The university's main commencement ceremony was Saturday at 10 a.m. at Michigan Stadium.

    Graduates hail from all 50 states and more than 100 countries. Twitter CEO and U-M alumnus Dick Costolo spoke during the ceremony.

    "It's scary to see what's going to come next but it's also exciting, for the new opportunities," said Alexis Steward, an architecture major planning to travel across Europe this summer. Steward is applying for jobs in her field to "get some experience under my belt outside of school."

    Anisha Chadha, a microbiology major, gave remarks during the commencement ceremony.

    "At this point in our lives as we set out into the real world it is so easy to feel uncertain, to feel that this is a big world and you are just one small person," she told the crowd. "Always remember you are contributing to our class's Michigan Difference.

    For many students, the fact that they've graduated hasn't fully set in.

    "It didn't feel real until this morning, until we put on our gowns," said program and environment major Elizabeth Pearce as she lined up to go into the stadium. "Last night I was feeling guilty. I was like 'we should be studying,' and then I remembered I don't have to do that anymore."

    Added Myah Ray, who is attending medical school at Michigan State University in the fall.

    "It's almost surreal because you dream about this moment and it's finally happening ... it probably won't set in until tomorrow."

    Math and statistics major Devin Riley, who is still looking for a job, called graduating "cathartic."

    "It's just a lot of release, a huge weight off my shoulders," he said Saturday. "I realize I don't have to think about school anymore at all. Everything is wide open, so it feels pretty great."


    Former Wolverines quarterback Denard Robinson shakes hands with a fellow graduating student as they take their seats in the Big House before the start of the University of Michigan's spring commencement, Saturday May 4.

    Courtney Sacco |

    Claudia Lampert, an engineering major that is moving to Texas for a job in the toy manufacturing business, is the first in her family of immigrants to graduate from an American college.

    "This just makes everything worth it, all the hard work," she said Saturday.

    In 2011, 54 percent of the graduates of U-M's College of Literature, Sciences and the Arts secured jobs before or shortly after graduation and 38 percent chose to continue their education, according to a voluntary response survey.

    "It doesn't feel like that long ago that I came into the undergrad program," said Elizabeth Showalter as she prepared to graduate Saturday. She is taking a year off to live abroad and apply to public health graduate school programs.

    Added her mom, Janice: "Wow. This is happening. There's a feeling of accomplishment that she did it."

    Dustin Wright, a movement science major, wants to get a job at the university this summer and apply to graduate school.

    "It's bittersweet. I've been here five years and last year I just didn't want to go so I stayed another one," he said.

    "I think we're ready to move on, but it's hard to do."

    Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:52 p.m.

    That's a lot of Socialists turned loose on us......... Hopefully they all weren't indoctrinated into the left's agenda........ Sooner they get to work the sooner they can be repaying those student loans, right? Good luck all, hope you can get a place on your own and not have to live off Mom & Dad for the next 10 years.....

    Patrick Maurer

    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:33 a.m.

    By next step you mean into Obama's unemployment line?


    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:54 p.m.

    Yah Stinky keep living in the past and blaming Bush....... Got a good memory there, Bengazi only a few months and forgot all about that right?

    Craig Lounsbury

    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 11:50 a.m.

    there has never NOT been an unemployment line since the Government started keeping track. Doesn't matter who the president was or is. These days in addition to out sourcing to third world countries robotics and other types of mechanization are taking a toll on employment. Workers are getting more efficient in that regard which is another way of saying we need less workers to get more done. Looking for a Bogey Man makes it easier to cope but life is a lot more complicated than a Bogey Man.


    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:10 a.m.

    Actually it belongs to George Bush!!!!


    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:56 a.m.

    Congrats to all the graduates. Especially Denard, who made his biggest and most important play today in the big house.


    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 8:44 p.m.

    Congratulations to all the new graduates! You should be proud of your accomplishments and excited to move on to the next stage in life. A big fat raspberry to all the commenters here who feel the need to interject their narrow-minded and negative political views into this happy occasion. Go rain on your own parade.

    Brenda Byrne

    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 6:08 p.m.

    Next stop unemployment office. Then to repay those student loans.

    Tim Hornton

    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:10 a.m.

    Applebee's and olive garden hire many new grads as waiters. Don't be a hater Brenda. Oh night shift security hires too.


    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 10:44 p.m.

    I walked today. I have a job. I am confident my fellow graduates will go on to do great things in this world. At the very least, they won't comment negatively about new graduates on such an important day in these people's lives on

    Nicholas Urfe

    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 7:20 p.m.

    They don't qualify for unemployment. And many of them got a free ride from their folks. You better just hope one of them isn't hired to be your new boss.

    Kellie Woodhouse

    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 5:23 p.m.

    There were definitely some funny lines in there. I liked it when he told graduates they looked like a big choir. We posted a story on Costolo's speech: Here's the link:

    Tim Hornton

    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:08 a.m.

    Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha. Ha. That was a funny one. Maybe he can "tweet" the joke again later. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.


    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 5:17 p.m.

    Me too! I was laughing the whole time. My favorite line was : "Back in my day, we didn't have the internet in our pants"!

    Craig Lounsbury

    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 6:02 p.m.

    that was my favorite too


    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 4:50 p.m.

    Looking back at their UM experience, what have they learned during their stay here?! Certainly UM student's first brush with politics, supporting the tragically inexperienced but politically correct choice Obama, has ended in disaster. Many will spend a car payment a month on healthcare dictated by the government they helped elect for coverage they don't need. Many support "green energy" for reasons they have not questioned, but will pay for every month. Combined with the real inflation hitting the US (gas, food, etc.) and high cost of their educations, they will be poorer longer. Fortunately most have embraced the leftist mantra of a lower standard of living packaged in the bright green wrapper of anti business, anti consumerism. Of course if they can't afford a decent car for a few years, it helps if they've been fooled into believing that riding a bus to work morning after morning will save the planet. LOL They've been wound up by leftists for years and now turned loose on America. Good luck kids - you're going to need it. May reality come to you slowly.

    Edward R Murrow's Ghost

    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 10:26 p.m.

    Sour Grapes. GN&GL


    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

    My concern is for the corrupt world view students are fed by activist left wing professors vs what they will experience out in the work world. Unfortunately the students are victims of a political agenda – that was not my choice. We should expect those here refusing to acknowledge any truth beyond the narrow spectrum allowed them by political correctness will react poorly when faced with reality. You hide from balanced news not because they "lie", but because truth is painfully inconvenient for you. The global warming fraud, the green energy fraud, the democrat's 2009 mortgage collapse, 11 years of UN claims of WMD's in Iraq, massive democrat congressional support for the wars, massive failures at Benghazi and more recently home land security in Boston are all issues you know virtually nothing about – embarrassing for you. With respect to university leadership, it is ironic that as the massive trauma to health care institutions caused by obamacare is on it's way, big pc obama supporter Colman is taking her bags of UM cash and running away. I guess it's easy to support the politically correct choice when she has the money to insulate herself from it's results and enjoys the luxury of leaving the wreckage to somebody else. Pathetic.


    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

    My two UM grads (2007 and 2012) will tell you that their college experience prepared them to be critical thinkers and to make intelligent, independent decisions. The oldest can afford more than just one brand new car, but has chosen to live close to work because walking is a healthier way of life. The youngest has gone into the health care field, now passing on new ideas to an established management team for improving patient care. Both proudly vote based on the credentials of a candidate, not necessarily on the party backing that candidate. And they are both kind, compassionate, productive young individuals doing a pretty good job in America. Reality is a good thing.

    Tim Hornton

    Sun, May 5, 2013 : 12:20 a.m.

    How dare you bash "hope and change"! Many of these students have obama and coexist bumper stickers on their honda civics! They paid 90000 for their liberal arts degrees and now its time to reap the benefits. Which is finding out their no better then a Baker grad who paid 20000 for a degree in a real science field and will make a lot more money in their lives. I learned the hardway too. Go Blue!


    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 8:55 p.m.

    "UM student's first brush with politics" You think so? Where were you in 1967? Or earlier?

    Nicholas Urfe

    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 7:18 p.m.

    "Good luck kids - you're going to need it. May reality come to you slowly." You too! But let's hope reality comes to you more quickly.


    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 6:12 p.m.

    Congratulations for being the first chicken little to post, but don't confuse your jaded and cynical view with maturity, experience or reality. Just as is true of every other graduating class, some of the kids in this class will make some progress against the negative externalities created by prior classes; some of the kids will create their own negative externalities for the following classes. The hope is always that each class will make the problems smaller and less prevalent. Just because you have allowed life to suck the hope out of your soul, don't feel the need to impress that upon kids who may have, as Larry Page said in his speech, a healthy disregard for the impossible. You shouldn't let the fact that you have lost the hope and joy in your life drive you to rush to rob it from others. Give them the brief relief and excitement of completing a task suffuse their spirits for at least one day before you unleash your own vision of purgatory on them. Next time, think for a moment before you post your "truisms" and thereby make the day a bit crummier and dimmer for the people with whom you deal.

    Craig Lounsbury

    Sat, May 4, 2013 : 4:33 p.m.

    It was the first commencement speech I ever heard that didn't have me tapping my toes and checking my watch 10 minutes in.