One president, 28 speeches

President. Fuchs at UF commencement in April 2021

President Fuchs delivers the first of 28 commencement addresses at the University of Florida's MBA graduation on April 18. 

When University of Florida President Kent Fuchs got the word that, with the right precautions, it was safe to host in-person graduation ceremonies, he committed to delivering the commencement addresses himself.

He didn’t know he was signing up to give 28 speeches.

As excitement about in-person graduation grew, more and more students signed up. In addition to 6,500 Spring 2021 grads, about 3,000 2020 grads registered to come back to campus, adding 11 makeup events — and 11 more speeches.

But for Fuchs, there was no turning back.

“It’s a signal that the university is working its hardest to make this a real commencement,” he said. “Also, I couldn’t ask a guest speaker to speak 28 times.”

Why so many events? Allowing for physical distancing of grads and their guests means capping the Stephen C. O’Connell Center at 20% capacity, with the largest ceremony hosting 575 grads.

The commencement extravaganza kicked off April 18 with MBA grads and wraps up with law grads on May 14 and medical school on May 15. Fuchs is now in the midst of a 9-day run in which he’ll make 25 speeches, often reporting to the O’Connell Center by 8 a.m. and remaining until after 9 p.m., delivering three addresses and squeezing in meal breaks while the arena is sanitized between ceremonies. (The best part? “The joy in the students’ faces as we celebrate with them in person.” The hardest part? “Not losing my voice.”) 

So how does one president give 28 speeches in 12 days? Here’s a peek at his schedule.

Thursday, April 29

 

DOCTORAL CEREMONY
250 grads

8:00am             Arrive at Stephen C. O'Connell Center Court Club for enrobing. Regalia, tam & bling will be in the room.

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony                    

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

  

BACHELOR/MASTER CEREMONY: Health & Human Performance, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine
430 grads 

1:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing 

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony                       

1:55pm             Platform processional, Ccmmencement address, conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends 

4:15pm             Dinner

 

BACHELOR/MASTER CEREMONY: Nursing, Public Health & Health Professions
500 grads

6:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony         

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

9:00pm             Ceremony ends 

 

Friday, April 30

 

BACHELOR/MASTER CEREMONY: Arts, Business
575 grads

8:00am             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

  

BACHELOR/MASTER CEREMONY: Business
515 grads 

1:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony          

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends

4:15pm             Dinner

 

BACHELOR/MASTER CEREMONY: Design, Construction and Planning, Education
450 grads

6:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony            

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees 

9:00pm             Ceremony ends

 

Saturday, May 1

 

MASTER/BACHELOR CEREMONY: Liberal Arts and Sciences
500 grads

8:00am             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony             

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

 

BACHELOR CEREMONY: Liberal Arts and Sciences
490 grads

1:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony               

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends

4:15pm             Dinner

 

BACHELOR CEREMONY: Liberal Arts and Sciences
520 grads  

6:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony                  

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

9:00pm             Ceremony ends

 

Sunday, May 2

 

BACHELOR CEREMONY: Liberal Arts and Sciences, Engineering
490 grads

8:00am             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing 

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony      

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

  

BACHELOR CEREMONY: Engineering
530 grads 

1:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing 

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony            

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends

4:15pm             Dinner

 

MASTER CEREMONY: Engineering
410 grads

6:00pm             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony            

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees 

9:00pm             Ceremony ends

 

Monday, May 3

 

BACHELOR CEREMONY: Agricultural and Life Sciences
540 grads 

8:00am             Arrive in the O’Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony    

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

  

BACHELOR/MASTER CEREMONY: Agricultural & Life Sciences, Journalism & Communications
540 grads

1:00pm             Arrive in the O'Connell Center Court Club for enrobing

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony                       

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends 

 

Thursday, May 6

 

DOCTORAL MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020
175 grads 

8:00am             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees.

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

 

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Dentistry, Design, Construction & Planning, Health & Human Performance
290 grads

1:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club 

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony        

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends

  

Friday, May 7 

 
BACHELOR/ MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Engineering, Business
290 grads             

8:00am             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony                    

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees 

11:00am           Ceremony ends 

11:15am           Boxed lunch 

 

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Engineering, Business
300 grads           

1:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club 

1:30pm             Photo with graduate whose mother wrote a letter

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony                

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees 

4:00pm             Ceremony ends

4:15pm             Dinner

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Engineering
295 grads

6:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony              

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

9:00pm             Ceremony ends

 

Saturday, May 8

BACHELOR MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Liberal Arts and Sciences
280 grads

8:00am             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony                       

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends 

11:15am           Boxed lunch

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Liberal Arts and Sciences
225 grads

1:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O'Connell Center Court Club 

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony                       

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends 

4:15pm             Dinner

 

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Liberal Arts and Sciences
280 grads

6:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony             

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

9:00pm             Ceremony ends

 

Sunday, May 9

 

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Agricultural & Life Sciences, Nursing, Medicine, Pharmacy, Public Health & Health Professions, Veterinary Medicine
280 grads 

8:00am             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

8:50am             Line up for start of ceremony               

8:55am             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

11:00am           Ceremony ends

11:15am           Boxed lunch

 

BACHELOR/MASTER MAKEUP CEREMONY for 2020: Agricultural & Life Sciences, Arts, Education
310 grads

1:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

1:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony              

1:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

4:00pm             Ceremony ends

4:15pm             Dinner

 

BACHELOR/MASTER 2020 CEREMONY for 2020: Arts, Journalism & Communications
300 grads

6:00pm             Arrive in Enrobing Room, O’Connell Center Court Club

6:50pm             Line up for start of ceremony                       

6:55pm             Platform processional followed by Commencement Address and conferring of degrees

9:00pm             Ceremony ends. Two more to go!

Alisson Clark April 29, 2021