Last week was filled with joyful ceremonies celebrating the accomplishments of our graduates, and I always look forward to these special opportunities to congratulate our Sun Devils and their families. During May commencement ceremonies, I had the pleasure of conferring 15,000 graduate and undergraduate degrees to our newest alumni, which included 8,400 Arizona residents, nearly 3,000 online students, more than 700 student veterans and 450 Starbucks College Achievement Plan (SCAP) graduates. We also welcomed MIT President Rafael Reif and honored his achievements and educational leadership with an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
In my message to the Class of 2018 , I recognized their exemplary creativity, compassion and commitment to making the world a better place, and how that understanding reassures and inspires me about the future. A first-generation college graduate, President Reif reminded us that education is a privilege that doesn't belong solely to the individual; it is a gift for inventing your future and solving problems that help others. ASU strives to reflect that belief in all it does, as underscored in conversation earlier that day with SCAP partners who shared their transformational stories of perseverance and educational achievement. Student success drives all we do, and I hope you will join us in applauding this milestone for our amazing grads.