Graduate Division Commencement 2024: Celebrating Grads and Their ‘Villages’

Grads give a shout-out to family and friends at Graduate Division 2024 Commencement ceremony
The UCSF Graduate Division's newest grads give a boisterous shout out at the end of the commencement ceremony to the villages of friends and family who have supported them during their degree programs. Photo by Maurice Ramirez.

On Monday, May 20, the Graduate Division returned to San Francisco’s historic Herbst Theatre for our 2024 Commencement Ceremony, in which we celebrated 155 of this year's master’s and PhD degree candidates. Dozens of faculty members, university leaders, and staff volunteers, plus hundreds of family and friends were present to salute the achievements of the Class of 2024, which comprises graduates from 23 degree programs, including the first graduating cohort from the Health Data Science master's program. Over 200 more viewers tuned into the live stream, which is available for viewing.

As always, the hooding of graduates was the main attraction, but the ceremony also featured a keynote address offered by Anita Sil, MD, PhD, professor and chair of UCSF's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and co-director of the Biomedical Sciences PhD program. The festivities also included presentation of the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award, given this year to David Quigley, PhD, assistant professor of Urology, nominated by students in the Biological and Medical Informatics PhD program.

Graduate Dean and Vice Provost for Student Academic Affairs Nicquet Blake, PhD, presided over the proceedings, with Chancellor Sam Hawgood on hand to confer degrees. The graduates were presented by D'Anne Duncan, PhD, assistant dean for diversity and learner success in the Graduate Division; Associate Professor Christopher Carpenter, MD; and Interim Associate Dean Nancy Street, PhD. 

All photos by Maurice Ramirez.

Class Stats

Graduate Dean Blake offered some facts and figures about the Class of 2024:

41% are natives of California
18% are international students from 32 countries
21% are from groups historically marginalized in STEM
30% are first generation to attend graduate school

More class stats from Dean Blake in her remarks

Dean Blake shares a high five with a PhD grad
Graduate Dean Nicquet Blake (center) shares a moment of celebration with a PhD grad. Photo by Maurice Ramirez.

No Two Journeys Alike

...even though you may be earning the same degree as the person sitting next to you, your journey through graduate school was uniquely yours, built on your individual foundation and your past. And that achievement is remarkable .... No one else but you will understand the specifics of what you experienced. The genesis of a hypothesis...the challenging data analysis...the experimental failures...the pure exhilaration of unlocking a mystery...

– Anita Sil, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Microbiology and Immunology and Commencement Keynote Speaker

View the commencement address

Epidemiology and Translational Science PhD grads gather for a photo in commencement regalia


A grad with voluminous commencement regalia poses with family members


A new grad cradles an infant

A new grad greets family members during commencement recessional.

Be a Mentor. Be Mentored.

I owe a tremendous debt to the people who lifted me up along the way. You are in this room today because there were people in your lives like [my mentors] .... When I get to help someone grow their own career, that's the best part of my day at work. It's one of the joys of my life to do something that makes me happy and contributes in some small way to the greater good. So no matter where your career is going, I hope you will find it fulfilling and will help others as you were helped to get there.

– David Quigley, PhD, Assistant Professor, Urology and Outstanding Faculty Mentor Awardee

View the award presentation

Adviser and student after hooding at commencement


A PhD grad is joined by his children at commencement ceremony


a faculty member hoods a graduate at commencement


a faculty member greets a grad during commencement recessional


Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2024!

three new grads toss their caps in the air with SF City Hall in the background