UI combines Winter Commencement ceremonies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI combines Winter Commencement ceremonies

IOWA CITY (KWWL) - It was an event University of Iowa President Sally Mason described as a milestone in University of Iowa history. More than 500 students converged at Carver Hawkeye arena, as the first class to graduate after the June flood.

"Because you're here today, we've shown that Iowa can provide an excellent education, no matter what challenges come our way," President Mason said.

Mason spoke to a crowd of students who would normally graduate seperately by major. However, with several campus buildings still out of commission, degrees in Science, Nursing, Business and Fine Arts were handed out together.

"There ceremony was a little bit longer because we were all here, but it was great to have everybody here," said graduate Nicole Hastings.

Months later, memories of the flood still weighs heavily on the mind of student Brittany Keyes. "I remember the devastation in my friend's voice when she told me the sandbag walls were failing, their family had to evacuate, and water was forecasted to reach their first floor ceiling."

Hastings recalls "walking down Dubuque Street and seeing Mayflower completely under water."

The Fine Arts department received special recognition, for dealing with much of the damage. Student Aaron Parker says it united the campus. "You'd wake up and ask what your friends were doing, and if you weren't working, chances are you'd go down by the river to help sandbag, and it really helped bring the community together.".

Michael Key also remembers the sandbagging effort. "It was just really hectic there for a couple of days," he told us. "I'll definitely remember everyone coming together, as part of a university family."

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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