A Route 91 shooting survivor. A father and future Air Force officer. A doctor who returned to her home country of Nepal to educate girls about their bodies.
These are among the more than 3,000 students to graduate from UNLV on Saturday at the Thomas & Mack Center. The university has awarded more than 140,000 degrees since 1964.
The Class of 2019, which ranged from 18 to 71 years old, hailed from 37 states and 50 countries, according to UNLV.
First-generation college student Nicholas Forester also overcame adversity as a graduate in the school’s Air Force ROTC. His daughter was diagnosed with a form of spina bifida — a defect of the spine — on his first day of college.
Yet he balanced school, worked part time and cared for his daughter over the past four years, earning a bachelor’s in mathematics and a minor in aerospace studies.
Saruna Ghimire, who obtained a doctorate in public health, left Nepal for education in the United States. Yet her research at UNLV brought her home, where she helped with a project to educate girls about menstrual hygiene and distributed sanitary resources.
On Saturday morning, Board of Regents Chairman Kevin Page encouraged the university’s graduates to keep their talents local.
“We need your healing powers, your ingenuity, your business acumen, your teacher’s spirit, your generosity, your compassion and, more importantly, your loyalty,” he said. “In short, our state needs you to be the next generation of leaders that will help grow Nevada.”
The College of Southern Nevada will celebrate its largest commencement with its 47th graduating class on Monday. The college projects a record 3,667 students are eligible to receive 3,721 degrees and certificates.