2022 Engineering Graduation

UCLA Samueli Celebrates 1,600 Class of 2022 Graduates in Two In-Person Ceremonies

Jun 14, 2022

UCLA Samueli Newsroom

Engineering graduates getting ready for the ceremony
UCLA Samueli Class of 2022

The 2022 commencement for the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science returned to its traditional home in Pauley Pavilion, following two years of online ceremonies due to the pandemic.

For the first time, the school celebrated the achievements of 1,038 undergraduate and 556 graduate-degree candidates in two separate ceremonies on Saturday, June 11, and Sunday, June 12, respectively. With the engineering school continuing to be in high demand and its enrollment steadily climbing, UCLA Samueli decided to host separate dedicated ceremonies in honor of the two cohorts. The events were also livestreamed via the school’s YouTube and Facebook channels.

Sunday’s ceremony included the inaugural class of nearly 40 M.Eng. degree candidates in the school’s newly launched one-year, on-campus Master of Engineering professional degree program.

Class of 2022 at an in-person procession at Pauley Pavilion
Graduates celebrating with fellow students at the commencement

Chemical and biomolecular engineering professor Yoram Cohen, who is also the chair of the school’s faculty executive committee, presided over both ceremonies.

Nearly 8,000 family members and guests attended the two events over the weekend, with many holding personalized signs and posting for pictures with their graduates along Bruin Walk. Despite having to wear masks during the indoor ceremonies due to a spike in COVID cases, the attendees’ joy and pride were palpable and audible with waves of cheers and applause echoing throughout Pauley Pavilion.

In her congratulatory remarks at both ceremonies, Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean of Engineering, acknowledged the ongoing pandemic’s impact on the students’ experiences and praised their “incredible resilience, ingenuity and adaptability through some of the toughest times in recent history.”

Murthy also offered words of encouragement for the newly minted Bruin engineers and computer scientists.

“Whatever your path — the foundational knowledge you’ve gained, the problem-solving skills you’ve honed and the holistic experiences you’ve had at UCLA will serve you, and the greater community, well,” she said.

A four-year member of the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, civil engineering bachelor’s degree candidate Youngbo Shim performed the national anthem on a trumpet. Shim will be attending UC Berkeley for a master’s degree.

The undergraduate ceremony featured as its commencement speaker triple alumnus Ronald Sugar, the retired CEO and chairman of aerospace and defense giant Northrop Grumman.

Sugar currently serves as chairman of Uber Technologies and is a director at Apple, Chevron and Amgen. He imparted a strong moral message to the graduates, highlighting the importance of integrity and accuracy no matter the circumstances.

Creative cap
Creative cap decoration by an engineering student

He also advised the students to challenge themselves, not being afraid to step out of one’s comfort zone and being willing to adapt and collaborate with others.

“Surround yourself with folks who are smarter than you; empower them to run with the ball, and when success is achieved, give them all the credit,” he said. “The whole room together is always smarter than any one person in it.”

Student speaker Nicholas Snyder, a bachelor’s degree candidate in chemical engineering, spoke of the generosity of UCLA students, citing some of the many ways the Bruins help their fellow students.

“Lead with your empathy, your willingness to help, and your humanity — the inspiration and the passion for what you’ll do beyond this campus will follow,” said Snyder, who will be headed to the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne for a master’s degree before pursuing his Ph.D. at Stanford. “Class of 2022, you should be proud of the way you’ve lifted your fellow classmates up to get to this point together.”

“Lead with your empathy, your willingness to help, and your humanity — the inspiration and the passion for what you’ll do beyond this campus will follow,” said Nicholas Snyder, the undergraduate commencement student speaker.

The graduate ceremony’s distinguished speaker was Jonathan Arenberg, the Chief Mission Architect for Science and Robotic Exploration at Northrop Grumman who holds a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate from UCLA Samueli.

For decades, Arenberg played an instrumental role in the James Webb Space Telescope, which launched into orbit on Christmas Day last year. He is the chief engineer who leads the technology development and system design of the groundbreaking telescope.

“Your perseverance through unprecedented uncertainty and confusion has given you valuable and practical insight into tackling previously unimagined problems,” he said, acknowledging the graduates’ experiences of the past two years. “This will serve you in good stead as you begin your careers and take on your mission — nothing less than inventing a better and brighter tomorrow and helping to save the world.”

Arenberg also shared three keys to achieving the seemingly impossible task of inventing a better tomorrow. One must first imagine success and believe it is possible, be brave and work as a team, he said.

2022 Engineering Graduation
Graduates celebrating with families

Before concluding his remarks, Arenberg donned a pair of sunglasses. Noting that at his own graduation commencement 35 year ago, a quartet of students performed, a cappella, the 1980s rock song “The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades.” The song’s message of hope was just as relevant for him back then as it will be for the new graduates, he said.

Computer science Ph.D. candidate Sandeep Singh Sandha spoke at the graduate ceremony. Hailing from India, Singh said he was initially worried about his experience as an international student at UCLA. But after feeling the warmth and openness of the campus community, he said he felt at home right away.

Soon to join Amazon Alexa as an applied scientist, Sandha also lauded his fellow degree candidates for their perseverance throughout the pandemic, noting that their presence together at the ceremony marked its own accomplishment, and in a way, has prepared them for other challenges.

Chauncey Isom, a UCLA alumnus and a retired counselor from the Office of Student and Academic Affairs at UCLA Samueli, sang the national anthem. He had previously performed at several engineering commencements.

Recordings of both the undergraduate and graduate ceremonies are available on the school’s YouTube Channel and archived on the Facebook event page. A digital copy of the combined commencement program can be downloaded on the school’s commencement website.