Celebrating Our Graduates: University of Oregon Commencement 2021


Green and yellow confetti
Celebrating Our Graduates

The University of Oregon’s 145th commencement celebration was a day for looking back, as well as aspiring to a brighter future.

After spending more than a year navigating a pandemic, the graduates of 2021 were honored for all they have achieved during a year like no other.

With an air of optimism—and a reminder that some of history’s greatest discoveries emerged from the deepest challenges—the Class of 2021 was applauded for its resiliency and encouraged by Ducks, past and present, to transform the world by sticking their necks out, overcoming stage fright, and sharing their gifts with their community.


2021 wearing a green graduation cap
“You and your generation will set the agenda for the future. Your ability to survive, adapt, and even flourish through a year of unparalleled challenge will serve you well as you walk out Dad’s Gate and take your place in the world outside our university.”
President Michael H. Schill

Watch Virtual Commencement

Bachelor's Degrees
Master's Degrees
Doctoral Degrees
Law Degrees
Ty Burrell, commencement speaker 2021
“Test your limits. Discover what you’re capable of. Find your best self in the crucible of attempting things that you’re genuinely unsure you can pull off.”
Ty Burrell, commencement speaker

Senior Spotlights

As our seniors get ready to leave the nest and fly into an exciting, ever-changing world, we would like to celebrate a few graduates who have accomplished great things during their time at the University of Oregon. Despite spending their last year in college in a pandemic, these members of the class of 2021 demonstrated strength, creativity, and ingenuity, and pursued passions that will change their lives and the lives of others.


Jyhreh Johnson

Jyhreh Johnson

Major:  Biological Anthropology and Linguistics with a minor in African Studies 
Hometown: Eunice, Louisiana

Jyhreh is a student in the Robert D. Clark Honors College and a McNair Scholar. She is president of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which is the first African American Greek-lettered sorority. She says what made her time at the UO special was the opportunity to take part in and conduct her own groundbreaking research, which in turn has helped her grow as a student, writer, and person. 

“My advice for incoming freshmen would be don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone,” says Jyhreh. “At times college may seem very intimidating so instead of constantly being overwhelmed, utilize your resources!”


Gustavo Junior Ramirez

Gustavo Junior Ramirez

Major: Advertising
Hometown: Beaverton, Oregon

Gustavo has worked for advertising groups such as Allen Hall Advertising and Upstream Advertising, serving as art director, designer, and copywriter for clients such as Oregon women’s basketball. He is also the executive director of Taking Up Space, a group for students of color in advertising, and has worked at the UO's Multicultural Center.

“My undergraduate experience was truly the greatest stretch of growth in my lifetime,” Gustavo says. “With support from family, friends, and faculty, I learned to never dull my shine and always demand better. I don’t plan on forgetting my time here at UO any time soon.”


Sabrina Piccolo

Sabrina Piccolo

Major: Linguistics and Spanish
Hometown: Nagoya, Japan

Sabrina is a member of the Humanities Undergraduate Research Fellowship program and part of the linguistics department’s Speech Perception and Production Laboratory, experiences which have allowed her to grow as a researcher. She is also a writing tutor through the Tutoring and Academic Engagement Center. 

“I am constantly grateful to be in an environment where I am simultaneously applauded for the work I do and challenged to take my work an extra step further,” says Sabrina. “Working with other undergraduate researchers at the UO has served as a powerful reminder to me that undergraduate research is valid research.”


Jude Stone

Jude Stone

Major: Political Science, minoring in Legal Studies, Queer Studies, and Theatre Arts 
Hometown: Arizona and Virginia 

During his time at UO, Jude coordinated several campaigns with OSPIRG Students, helping thousands of Oregonians and Ducks vote in the 2020 election, and promoting food security resources on campus. He also served as education and activism coordinator of the LGBTQA3 Alliance and ran the Pocket Playhouse board last year, helping students create and produce their own theater. 

“It was so incredible to have the opportunity to pursue so many different interests,” Jude says. “UO is the perfect size because it’s small enough to make personal connections with professors and classmates, but big enough to find programs for all of your passions.” 


Nisha Sridhar

Nisha Sridhar

Major: Human Physiology
Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon 

Nisha is a student in Robert D. Clark Honors College, a research assistant at the Stress Neurobiology and Prevention Lab, a Wayne Morse Scholar, and a University Innovation Fellow. She is also a member of the TEDxUOregon planning team and co-founded the university’s first ethics bowl team. After she graduates, Nisha will be pursuing a master’s degree in psychology at the UO.

“Do not be afraid to step outside your major and pursue interdisciplinary opportunities,” Nisha says. “This may sound cliché, but do not be afraid to try new things: my favorite experiences at the UO were the result of trying something for the first time.”


Alexander Leonel Rivas Ruiz

Alexander Leonel Rivas Ruiz

Major: Family and Human Services and Spanish
Hometown: Corvallis, Oregon

During his time at UO, Alexander helped establish a new student group called Latinx Male Alliance & Allies. He, along with his peers, established the group his freshman year. He has also been involved with UO MEChA and UO Impact as a peer mentor. Alexander says that meeting new people from different walks of life was what made his undergraduate experience special. When he graduates, Alexander hopes to secure a job in a non-profit organization that works with underrepresented youth.

“If you’re scared to take chances, you’ll never have the answers,” Alexander says. “Try new things and grow from it.”


Katie Jensen

Katie Jensen

Major: Cinema Studies, minors in Music and Creative Writing 
Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Katie was in the Oregon Marching and Basketball Bands all four years of her time at UO, which she says was the best part of her college experience. She was in the Robert D. Clark Honors College where she studied abroad with Professor Mossberg’s Genius of Study Abroad program over the summer of 2019. She wrote her thesis on the music video and lyrical censorship battles in the 1980s and how it impacted the current structure and politics of the music industry.

“Get to know your professors,” says Katie. “They’re there to help and have been really influential during my time at the university.” 


Sawyer Medlin

Sawyer Medlin

Major: Business Administration
Hometown: Portland, Oregon

During his time at the university, Sawyer has been involved in the Warsaw Sports Marketing Club as well as the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Club. He is also pursuing his Certificate in Global Business and is currently interning for Pro Trending. Post-graduation, Sawyer is working with McKenzie SewOn to bring a new patented product called Helmet Hoodie to the UO.

“Being a part of the Duck community helped make these past four years so special,” Sawyer says, “The relationships I’ve built all the way from my peers, to faculty to community members, have helped me prosper.”


Alexis Garcia

Alexis Garcia

Major: Art History and Cultural Anthropology
Hometown: Syracuse, Utah

During her time at UO, Alexis participated in the Undergraduate Research Symposium and published an article in the Oregon Undergraduate Journal. She says that the highlight of her college experience was studying abroad in one of the GEO London programs. After she graduates, Alexis is going to be pursuing her master’s degree in art history at the UO. 

“My advice for incoming freshmen is to be open to new interests,” says Alexis. “College general education classes are an easy way to broaden your horizons and it might help you figure out what you ultimately want to do.” 

Isaiah Boyd
“When defeat, burnout, and the lack of strength to continue all loomed overhead, you continued to demonstrate what resilience truly means. Even in the hardest of struggles you continued to press on and show the world that overcoming the impossible is, in fact, possible.”
Isaiah Boyd, President, Associated Students of the University of Oregon (2020–21)
Double Majors
Triple Majors
Graduates Celebrating Birthdays

In-person Celebrations

Although the UO’s formal Commencement ceremony was a virtual webcast, graduates could also opt in for two in-person, outdoor activities—the Grad Parade, which was followed by a livestreamed Stage Procession. While not the same as our traditional commencement ceremonies, these events gave students an opportunity to gather safely, parade through campus, and celebrate their achievements.


2021 UO Grad Parade


2021 UO Grads throwing the 'O'


2021 UO Grads with '21' balloons


2021 UO Grad showing heritage spirit


2021 UO Grads


2021 UO Grads in front of Lillis


2021 UO Grads celebrating


2021 UO grad wearing duck feet getting diploma on stage


2021 UO Grads after walking across the stage


2021 UO Grads


The Duck handing President Schill a diploma at the UO 2021 graduation ceremony


2021 UO Grad Parade


2021 UO Grads


UO cheerleaders at the 2021 Grad Parade


UO Green Garter Band at the 2021 Grad Parade


2021 UO Grads


2021 UO Grads


2021 UO Grads after walking across the stage


2021 UO Grads


The Duck with a dog at the 2021 UO Grad Parade


2021 UO Grads


2021 UO Grads


2021 UO Grads in front of the JSMA

Creative Caps


A graduation cap reading "She believed she could so she did"


A graduation cap with Native American heritage colors and symbols


A graduation cap reading "How far I'll go" with an image of 'Moana' and a wave


A graduation cap text 'class UO 2021 {const name = yamada major = art-tech print ('Hello real world') undergrad = done'


A graduation cap reading "I wanted to give up but then I remembered who was watching'


A graduation cap in Spanish reading "I want, I can, I am able"


A graduation cap with flowers


A graduation cap reading "I'm proud of you, but you've made mistakes - mom 2021"


A graduation cap reading "Adventure is calling" with a VW bus


Display Your Duck Spirit

To add some Duck spirit to your graduation celebration, download printable signs, digital wallpaper, and Zoom backgrounds.

Download Your Favorite Design


2021 Once a Duck, Always a Duck grad sign


2021 Duck grad sign


2021 Once a Duck, Always a Duck grad sign
Countries Represented
US States Represented
US Territories Represented


Share your commencement memories with us using #DuckGrad21


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UO Alumni at the 2021 Grad Parade

When you become a UOAA life member, you join a worldwide network of more than 20,000 alumni members who will fly with you on your journey.

Membership ensures you stay connected to the UO and that all alumni are heard and supported. For recent grads, our Duck Career Network can help you land that first job, network with alumni in your field, and give you advice to help you succeed. Plus, we have other great benefits, including early access to football and basketball tickets; member-only events; and access to Nike and Columbia employee stores.

Together, members advocate for the UO, promote excellence, and help the UO support the best and brightest students through scholarships. If you love your Ducks, you’ll love your membership in the UOAA!

Join the Alumni Association