When our first class of UOnline students began their respective graduate programs – in Finance, Accounting, and Sport Administration – in January 2015, graduation day may have seemed like the light at the end of a long, grueling tunnel. Four semesters later, 32 UOnline students from across the country received their graduate diplomas alongside hundreds of their campus-based peers. While some students have additional credits to complete during the summer term, they were overjoyed to participate in the formal ceremonies ahead of their official graduation this summer.
Graduates in the Master’s of Finance and Master’s of Accounting program were treated to a School of Business commencement address by Jorge G. Castaneda, Mexico’s former minister of foreign affairs, on Thursday, May 4.
For Chris Yingling, a Master’s in Finance graduate and Double ‘Cane, completing his master’s degree was the realization of a long held goal. “Ever since graduating from the University of Miami as an undergraduate, I have wanted to pursue a graduate business degree,” said Yingling, director of finance at Dietz & Watson. shared. “My dream was to obtain that degree from my alma mater, but living in the Philadelphia area made that impossible. That all changed when I received the email about the new UOnline Master’s of Science in Finance program.”
The distance from campus proved to be no challenge for Yingling throughout his courses, as he regularly communicated with fellow students and faculty, some of whom he even had as an undergraduate at UM. “The program was outstanding in all respects,” said Yingling. “It’s clear that you are getting the same comprehensive and in-depth education as the classroom version. It’s also very impressive and helpful how much the professors encourage live interaction and dialogue over the phone, via email, and digital office hours.”
On Friday, May 5, our first class of Master’s in Sport Administration graduates heard a commencement address from Stephen Lewis, the Canadian co-founder of AIDS-Free World who served the United Nations for two decades.
When we spoke with student Steve Bashore, General Manager of Buffalo Run Casino & Resort in Miami, Oklahoma, a few months ago, he was enjoying the program so much, he didn’t want to graduate. However, after the graduation ceremony, he shared, “I have nothing but high praise for my new alma mater! My goal is to advance into collegiate athletics with an end goal of becoming an athletic director.”
Upon returning home to Oklahoma, Bashore met with his mentor, Dr. Jeff Hale, President of Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, who encouraged him to pursue his master’s degree with UM. As a token of gratitude, Bashore presented Hale with the UM stole he wore to walk the stage at his graduation ceremony.
When students join UOnline, they become part of the ‘Cane family. All students in our online programs are invited to attend campus graduation ceremonies and receive their degrees in person.
We are so proud to congratulate our first class of UOnline students on their commitment and achievements. The UM family has gained 32 new alumni, and we look forward to celebrating on campus with future graduates to come.