CU Denver Commencement Spring 2022: All Together Now 

May 10, 2022

For the first time in three years, our entire CU Denver community will come together for a traditional, in-person commencement ceremony to be held on the university’s iconic Tivoli Quad at 9 a.m., Saturday, May 14. This year’s talented, diverse graduating class of more than 2,200 includes representatives from 21 countries. The age range is impressive, too: from 19 (in a graduate and undergraduate program!) to 78 and includes 882 first-generation students and 117 veterans.  

The physical, mental, technological, and economic challenges surmounted by our 2022 graduates as a result of COVID-19 render this year’s commencement especially exciting, inspiring, and bittersweet. In addition to moving from in-person to online learning, the pandemic forced the university to hold virtual graduation ceremonies in the spring and fall of 2020, and in spring 2021, tailor a special “Cross the Quad” event designed to minimize the length of time graduates spent on campus while decreasing touchpoints. 

Commencement 2022 offers a chance to celebrate the wins we’ve made over the last couple years and strengthen our campuswide commitment to building a more equitable future. Despite obstacles, CU Denver welcomed students back to campus in the spring 2022 semester. During the pandemic, our university was recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, we expanded our Displaced Aurarian Scholarship and welcomed a new Chancellor, and we worked together to develop and implement a dynamic 2030 Strategic Plan aimed at creating a more inclusive and innovative future for our university and city. We’re focused on designing equitable, accessible learning environments, being a university for all stages of life, fostering innovation, and investing in our people as a best place to work.  

Commencement Speaker Embodies the Lynx Spirit 

A special year calls for a special commencement speaker who embodies the vibrant, resilient, and determined Lynx spirit and knows a thing or two about making big dreams come true. CU Denver Business School Alum Thomas Evans, aka Detour, an all-around creative and renowned large-scale public artist, will address this year’s graduating class and share his insights on the value of hard work and perseverance, patience, and flexibility.   

Detour credits the MBA he earned at CU Denver for helping him learn to make the business side of art work. “I wrote a business plan to figure out exactly what kind of artist I wanted to be,” he says. “I reached out to all the artists I admired to figure out strategies for how they make it as an artist and learn how to grow every year.” 

Detour’s advice to CU Denver’s 2022 graduating class aligns with his chosen name. “I got rejected 99 percent of the time,” he admits. “If you’re applying for a job or a master’s or PhD program and you get rejected, it’s not the end of the story. Sometimes it’s good to get challenged a little bit and have to take a different pathway because it gives you new ways of thinking about your journey and how you’re different from other individuals. Persistence and patience are key because not everyone is on the same timeline and schedule. If you focus on your schedule, a lot of times your anxiety and the need to compare yourself to others goes away and you can just focus on your journey, getting where you want to be.”  

In the spring of 2022, CU Denver commissioned Detour to paint two murals on the Learning Commons and Student Commons and three murals to be displayed within CU Denver buildings. The partnership features seven of our alumni,, symbolic of our broader alumni community, from filmmakers to medical professionals, to educators, artists, politicians, and city planners, who started at CU Denver and have impacted our city for the better. 

“When you think of a college campus, you think of uniformity and don’t really see a lot of that street art culture,” Detour says.  “It’s been exciting to add my stamp to a place where I spent time for quite a while and just see student after student go up on the mural, do the research about who that person is, and feel inspired again in a new way.” 


What to Know if You’re Attending Commencement 2022 

Commencement weekend will kick off with the first-ever End of Year Celebration, a day to bid farewell to fellow students and celebrate with friends, faculty, and staff, on Friday, May 13, from 2 to 5 p.m., at Larimer Square. This year’s in-person commencement ceremony (also being live streamed for those unable to attend) will take place the next day, Saturday, May 14, at 9 a.m., on the Tivoli Quad. Addresses by Detour and university leaders will be followed by the awarding of diplomas. All members of our CU Denver community are invited to attend both events. 

Find more information, details, and answers to frequently asked questions about CU Denver Spring 2022 commencement here: Spring 2022 Commencement