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IU Bloomington Undergraduate Commencement

Saturday, May 6, 2023

IU President Whitten celebrates the Indiana University graduates earning undergraduate degrees at IU Bloomington.


The Indiana University family 

Trustees, Provost Shrivastav, faculty and staff colleagues, family and friends, and members of the Indiana University Graduate Class of 2023:

Indiana University's 14th president John Ryan once said: “Go where you will in the United States or the world today and identify yourself as a member of the Indiana University family, and you will find you are known, because a father or sister or husband has attended; or because a teacher or a Peace Corps member or doctor has brought his (or her) education from Indiana to that place… Indiana University marches tall in the first rank of the academic world.”[1]

IU’s vast alumni network and its global reputation have only grown since President Ryan spoke these words. In Indiana and beyond, IU graduates are engaged in communities as business leaders, healthcare providers, journalists, artists, scientists, teachers, social workers, and civic leaders. You and your fellow graduates are poised to join them as the next generation of the IU family that will help shape our future.

But what does it mean to be part of the Indiana University family? 

The character and actions of its members

You were welcomed into the IU family when you began your journey as a student. And as you have learned, being an IU student is not just about attending classes, studying for exams, and obtaining a degree. It's about being a part of a community that encourages you to grow and learn in ways you never thought possible. It's about discovering your passions, meeting new people, and creating lifelong memories. 

Being part of the university family means recognizing our shared humanity; treating each other with kindness, respect, and understanding; and building a campus culture that reflects our commitment to service, compassion, and respect for all.

Being part of the IU family means learning from and respecting this community's diverse backgrounds, beliefs, and perspectives. The students who graduate this weekend as part of the Bloomington Class of 2023 come from 98 countries, all 50 states, and 90 of Indiana’s 92 counties. Each member of the IU family brings unique experiences, perspectives, and talents. As part of this family, you have been exposed to new ideas, cultures, and ways of thinking that have helped shape who you are today.

And being a part of the university family does not end after graduation. You are IU Hoosiers for life, and we will continue to celebrate your achievements as you apply all that you’ve learned here to make your mark on the world. 

Celebrating the IU Bloomington class of 2023

The best way to explain what being part of the IU family means is to look more closely at a few of the 10,252 members of the IU Bloomington Class of 2023, who comprise the largest graduating class in the history of the Bloomington campus.

For many of today’s graduates, IU is a family tradition. Many of you have siblings, parents, and other family members who earned IU degrees. Some of you are earning degrees at the same time as family members, including (and this means a great deal to me because I am one as well) the 28 sets of twins among the IU Bloomington class of 2023.

Agrayan Gupta, who graduates today from the Kelley School of Business, has the distinction of earning an IU degree on the same weekend as his mother, Anita, who earned her MBA from the Kelley School yesterday. As the co-founder of the IU chapter of “Swipe Out Hunger,” a program that allows students to donate their extra meal points to help students experiencing food insecurity, Agrayan also exemplifies the IU family’s commitment to taking care of its members.

Members of the IU family are also driven by a desire to help improve people's lives worldwide. Kennedy Obermeier, for example, graduates today from the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design. She received the Provost’s Award for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity for her research and her work designing clothing with components that facilitate ease of dressing for those with disabilities.

Being part of the IU family sometimes means representing the university with distinction on the national stage, as Kristen Hayden, a member of our elite women’s swimming and diving team who graduates today, illustrates. Kristen won the USA national championship in the 3-meter mixed synchronized dive and became USA Diving’s first African American female national champion. Kristen received the Big Ten Medal of Honor for excelling in both athletics and academics. Don’t be surprised to see her competing in the 2024 Olympics.

Among today’s graduates are countless others who have helped uplift and support their fellow students, volunteered their time to tutor a struggling classmate, and actively worked to make our campus more inclusive and welcoming. 

Enduring traditions of the IU family

Of course, all families have unique traditions… and the IU family is no exception. 

Families stay in touch… and you can expect that we will reach out to you often in the coming years because we know that you care not just about this institution but also about the people who are your IU family. 

Families celebrate together… whether their members are together or far-flung. We know that in the years ahead, you will join in celebrating the accomplishments of your IU family—from the next IU basketball team to make the Final Four to the next outstanding IU faculty member to win a Nobel Prize. 

Families take care of each other… and in the coming years, you can expect a member of the IU family to reach out and help you… by making an introduction, offering career guidance, or in countless other ways. Although you might have never met them, they know you are a kindred spirit as an IU Hoosier. And as part of one of the largest alumni bodies of any university in the nation, you will one day—whether tomorrow or years from now—be able to reach out to a fellow IU family member and assist them. 

And no matter where their members may go in the world… families always come home. We hope you will return to the campus that has been your home, visit often, and eventually share your hard-earned wisdom with future members of the IU family. 

As you move into the next chapter of your life, remember the lessons you have learned and the relationships you have formed here. Cherish these memories and take them with you wherever you go.  

May you continue to care for one another and develop and exercise your commitment to serving others.  

And remember that you will always be a part of the Indiana University family. 

Congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2023.



[1] John W. Ryan, The Investiture of John W. Ryan as the 14th president of Indiana University, delivered January 20, 1972, IU Archives.

IU Bloomington Undergraduate Commencement

See more about the 2023 commencement season at Indiana University.