University to award record 3,748 degrees May 19 and 20

· 9 min read

University to award record 3,748 degrees May 19 and 20

Chancellor Ronnie Green, Justice Stephanie F. Stacy will address graduates
Ja'Lesa Reed celebrates after receiving her Master of Education during the graduate and professional degree ceremony May 19 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Justin Mohling | University Communication and Marketing
Ja'Lesa Reed celebrates after receiving her Master of Education during the graduate and professional degree ceremony May 19 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

The university will confer a record 3,749 degrees during commencement exercises May 19 and 20.

Full list of graduates | Featured grads | #GoBigGrad map | Program | Livestream (begins 30 minutes before the undergrad ceremony)

The 3,664 graduates are from 59 countries; 47 states, the District of Columbia and Guam; and more than 240 Nebraska communities.

The Bob Devaney Sports Center hosted a ceremony for students earning graduate and professional degrees May 19; Memorial Stadium, One Memorial Stadium Drive, will host a ceremony for undergraduates at 9 a.m. May 20; and the Lied Center for Performing Arts, 301 N. 12th St., will host a ceremony for law graduates at 2 p.m. May 20.


Chancellor Ronnie Green, who plans to retire at the end of June, will deliver the keynote addresses during the graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Stephanie F. Stacy will speak to the law graduates.

Green leads Nebraska’s flagship, land-grant, Big Ten institution, where he oversees an enrollment of nearly 24,000 students and about 5,800 faculty and staff. Before becoming chancellor in 2016, he served as the University of Nebraska system’s vice president for agriculture and natural resources, Harlan Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and interim senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

A first-generation college graduate, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in animal science from Virginia Tech and Colorado State University, respectively. His doctoral program in animal breeding and genetics was completed jointly at UNL and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s U.S. Meat Animal Research Center.

Green previously served on the animal science faculties of Texas Tech University and Colorado State University. He was the national program leader for animal production research for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service and executive secretary of the White House’s interagency working group on animal genomics. He later served as a global executive for Pfizer Animal Health’s animal genomics business.

Green is a past president of the American Society of Animal Science and the National Block and Bridle Club. He was named an ASAS fellow in 2014 and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2015. In 2017, he was honored with ASAS’ Morrison Award, the highest international academic recognition for an animal scientist.

Green is also presiding over the commencement ceremonies.


Stacy was appointed to the Nebraska Supreme Court in 2015 and retained by voters in 2018. In addition to deciding cases, her duties include serving as chair of the Nebraska Judicial Resources Commission, co-chair of the Access to Justice Commission and a founding member of the Nebraska Consortium of Tribal, State and Federal Courts. From 2011 to 2015, she served as a district court judge in Lancaster County, where her docket included civil and criminal cases, and she presided over the Lancaster County Adult Drug Court. Before appointment to the bench, she was a partner in the Lincoln law firm Baylor, Evnen, Curtiss, Grimit and Witt, where her practice focused on tort litigation, insurance coverage, and appeals at all levels. Stacy graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1991, where she was a member of the Nebraska Law Review, National Moot Court Team and Order of the Coif. After graduating, she served as an adjunct faculty member in the college, teaching trial advocacy and pretrial litigation.


JoAnn Martin, former CEO of Ameritas and longtime university supporter, will posthumously receive the 2023 Nebraska Builder Award during the undergraduate ceremony. A native of Plainview, Nebraska, Martin earned a bachelor’s degree from the then-College of Business Administration with high distinction in 1975. She began her professional career at the accounting firm Touche Ross and Company and later earned a master’s degree in taxation from Colorado State University. Martin joined Ameritas, then known as Bankers Life Nebraska, in 1984. She started as an audit division manager and rose through the company, serving in various leadership roles before being elected CEO in 2009. Under her leadership, Ameritas experienced significant growth in its assets and customer base, and she was known for her innovative leadership, strategic vision and commitment to excellence.

Martin became a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation in 2009 and was elected to its board of directors in 2010, serving as chair from 2017 to 2019. She also served on the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation Board of Directors. She was a passionate supporter of Husker athletics, earning the Barbara Hibner Trailblazer Award in 2012. She also received the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service from the NU Foundation in 2021. She died Oct. 20, 2021, at age 67. JoAnn’s husband, Derrel Martin, will accept the Nebraska Builder Award.


Bob Kerrey, former Nebraska governor and former U.S. senator for Nebraska, will receive an honorary Doctor of Law during the undergraduate ceremony. Throughout his career, Kerrey has demonstrated a deep commitment to public service, leadership and education. Born and raised in Lincoln, he earned a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy from Nebraska in 1965. For his bravery and heroism in combat while serving in the Navy during the Vietnam War, he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. After his military service, he became a successful businessman. He served as Nebraska’s 35th governor from 1983 to 1987 and was a U.S. senator from 1989 to 2001. Kerrey was president of The New School in New York City from 2001 to 2010 and has served on numerous charitable boards. He is currently the managing director of investment bank Allen and Company and chairman of the Minerva Institute for Research and Scholarship.

If inclement weather arises, the afternoon of May 20 has been set aside as an alternate time for the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Ceremony changes will be posted here.

To maintain a secure environment, Memorial Stadium enforces a clear-bag policy that limits the size and type of bag that may be brought inside. For details, click here. To avoid inconveniences, guests are encouraged to arrive early and travel light.

Tickets are not required for any ceremony, and there is no limit to the number of guests per graduate. All seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

For the undergraduate ceremony at Memorial Stadium, gates will open to the public at 7 a.m. Guest seating is in West Stadium for best ceremony viewing. Gates 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 will be open for public entry. Gate 3 is available for guests with accessibility needs.

For guests with permanent or temporary disabilities, hard-back chairs are available at field level with one companion seat. Pre-registration is not required. No elevator is needed to access this seating area. Open captioning for people with hearing impairment will be provided on the ribbon boards.

First aid will be at the northwest station on the north concourse for guests and the southeast field-level station for those on the field. The northwest American Red Cross room is also designated as a lactation space.

Students will be seated on the field. Guests will not be allowed on the field at any point during commencement. They may meet up with graduates outside the gates of Memorial Stadium after the ceremony.

Christa Rahl smiles as she holds her newly earned Master of Arts during the graduate and professional degree ceremony May 19 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Justin Mohling | University Communication and Marketing
Christa Rahl smiles as she holds her newly earned Master of Arts during the graduate and professional degree ceremony May 19 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Numerous lanes are closed in downtown Lincoln near Memorial Stadium. Guests should plan for congestion on those streets and allow ample time to arrive. To minimize traffic and parking challenges, guests are urged to visit the City of Lincoln roads website or use the Waze mobile app.

Free parking is available with no permit needed (except for accessible spaces) in City Campus parking garages and surface lots, unless otherwise marked. Stadium Drive from T to V streets will be closed. To relieve congestion around the stadium, consider using the 14th and Avery garage.

Accessible parking is available near the stadium on a first-come, first-served basis. Vehicles must have appropriate, state-issued permits or license plates. A drop-off area for mobility-restricted guests will be available just south of Stadium Drive and T Street. For a parking map, click here.

Undergraduates are to check in no later than 8:15 a.m. at the Hawks Championship Center, just north of Memorial Stadium. Students should bring their student ID, or another form of identification with NU ID number, and enter through the west doors. Graduates should arrive wearing their cap with tassel, gown and stole. Personal items should be left with family or friends. Graduates will check in and go directly to their assigned seats inside the stadium. Graduates are encouraged to wear flat, comfortable shoes since they will be walking on field turf and/or uneven ground.

For the College of Law ceremony at the Lied Center, the public may sit in any open seats other than on the main floor within the Orchestra Front section, which is set for graduates. Accessible seating and assisted listening devices are available. For more information, click here.

Parking is available in the Que Place Garage directly south of the Lied Center and at meters. A drop-off area for mobility-restricted guests will be available just east of the Lied Center, near the valet area.

Graduates should check in no later than 1:15 p.m. for the College of Law ceremony. Graduates should enter the Carson Theatre doors, on the west side of the Lied Center. They will be directed to line up for a processional.

Graduates should contact the Office of the University Registrar with accessibility concerns.

Graduates and their guests are asked to stay for the entire ceremony.

The undergraduate ceremony will be streamed here and broadcast live on Spectrum channel 1303, Allo channel 23 and Kinetic channel 1080.

For more information on the May commencement ceremonies, click here or email

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