FAU Celebrates Fall 2015 Commencement

FAU will confer more than 2,530 degrees today and tomorrow during five commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

By kelsie weekes | 12/10/2015

Florida Atlantic University will confer more than 2,530 degrees today and tomorrow during five commencement ceremonies in the Carole and Barry Kaye Performing Arts Auditorium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The new graduates will join more than 146,760 alumni who have graduated from FAU since the University opened its doors in 1964.

“It is an honor to be here today to celebrate the hard work and successes of Florida Atlantic University’s students,” said FAU President John Kelly. “I join all family members and friends in congratulating the graduates on reaching this major milestone in their lives.”

Fall commencement also highlights the accomplishments of outstanding graduates, including:

· Denise Kutnick, 17, is FAU’s youngest graduate this semester. She will receive a degree in computer science from the College of Engineering and Computer Science today at 1 p.m. Kutnick fell in love with computers when a middle school teacher taught her how to create webpages using HypterText Markup Language (HTML). She knew she wanted to continue studying computing in high school, so she chose FAU High because of their strong science and technology programs. In the fall of 2013, while still attending FAU High, Kutnick enrolled as a full-time student at FAU. Kutnick landed a summer internship at Intel Corporation’s Fort Collins, Colo. facility, serving as a component design engineer with a team to design computer chips. Before she returned for her last semester at FAU, Intel offered her a full-time job, and she will relocate to Colorado permanently following graduation.

· Elizabeth “Betty” Reilly, 89, is FAU’s oldest graduate this semester. She will receive a Bachelor of Arts in English from the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters today at 5 p.m. Reilly decided to go back to school and get her GED at age 80, and has been pursuing her education ever since. She takes the bus to FAU’s Davie campus where the faculty and staff have fallen in love with her. Reilly’s pursuit of education has inspired more than 30 of her friends to go back to school as well. Reilly is a prime example that it’s never too late to learn.

· Ricardo “Ricky” Santiago, 23, will receive a Bachelor of General Studies degree from the College for Design and Social Inquiry tomorrow at 9 a.m. Just 18 months ago, the star FAU baseball player was in a hospital bed recovering from open-heart surgery. During his junior season, Santiago was diagnosed with Partial Anomalous Pulmonary Venous Return (PAPVR), which means his pulmonary veins were connected to the right side of his heart instead of the left, causing his heart to become enlarged. Santiago underwent surgery in June 2014, and just two months later, he was back on the baseball field. During his senior season, he was named team captain and ranked third on the team in batting average. He helped lead the squad to a ranking as high as No. 16 in the national polls.

“Each and every year at commencement, I’m reminded of the impact FAU has, and will continue to have, on its students, faculty, staff and the six-county region it serves,” said Anthony Barbar, chair of FAU’s Board of Trustees. “Speaking for the Trustees, I commend the Class of 2015. As an FAU alumnus myself, I’m moved and impressed by the accomplishments of this year’s graduates.”

Some interesting statistics regarding the fall graduating class include that fact that 102 of the degree recipients are over the age of 50, and 20 are over the age of 60. The graduates represent 46 countries.

For the convenience of family members and friends who cannot attend the commencement ceremonies, the proceedings will be cybercast at www.fau.edu.