Graduates take their next step in style

Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

By Ashley A. Williams

Photo: Mike Montero/University of Miami

Graduates take their next step in style

By Ashley A. Williams
For graduates, commencement ceremonies are not only a symbol of new beginnings, but an opportunity to set themselves apart through fashion.

At the Friday undergraduate Commencement ceremonies some students chose to wear heels, sneakers, or sandals. Whatever the choice, it had meaning to each person. 

Carmen Campbell, an international studies major who was sporting high heels embedded with rhinestones, said she wanted a timeless look. 

“I wanted something simple and something that I wouldn’t regret when I look back on these photos in the future,” said Campbell. “I wanted something that would differentiate me from all the others graduating today.” 

Daniella Lopez, who received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and psychology, also went the high fashion route. 

“I’m very into fashion because it just comes easy to me. I think for graduation it’s best to go with something white, light – like the lace that I’m wearing today,” said Lopez, who wore Sam Edelman white studded boots and a Chanel purse. “I can wear something out of CVS with something designer, it doesn’t matter to me. It’s all about how you put it together.” 

Liberal arts major Anthony Lawrence wore Louis Vuitton loafers. 

“Designer is the way to go for me and these were perfect for the occasion,” Lawrence, a student-athlete said. 


Stoles and colorful cords adorn the caps and gowns of many students. They indicate membership in an organization, society, or special group. Graduates also custom decorate their mortarboards with phrases and photos that describe their personalities. 

“This blue and white one here represents my membership in the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology,” said senior Michael Nesheiwat, who was wearing nearly ten cords that identify the many groups he’s been involved in since becoming a ‘Cane. 

Octavio Rios who received his bachelor’s degree in political science, draped a Puerto Rican flag around his neck. 

“I chose to wear my flag today because I am proud of my Hispanic roots,” said Rios. “I am proud to be the first of my family to graduate from the University of Miami, and I wanted to represent who I am—and where I am from—proudly.”

But for one University of Miami undergraduate, tradition won out over fashion. 

Graduating senior Robert John Williams was the last person called during Friday’s first ceremony. As he stepped onto the stage—wearing big, furry yellow feet—he revealed to everyone that he was one of the students who brought the University’s mascot, Sebastian the Ibis, to life. 

A longstanding tradition is that on graduation day, mascots—who are sworn to secrecy—make the big reveal about their role by donning the feet of the Sebastian the Ibis outfit.