The theater’s seats and parking lots filled with Tuesday evening’s Hempstead Hall UAHT graduation ceremony for the class of 2023. Guests were sent to the balcony The program included a processional, a flag ceremony and Pledge of Allegiance with Scouts BSA Group 5 of Hope. Haley Patillo-Thompson sang the national anthem.
Dr. Christine Holt, UAHT Chancellor gave a welcome and introductions.¬† She talked about the graduating class being one of leaders. Dr. Holt talked about leadership stating it involved genuinely showing up and getting to know your team. She said a title is unnecessary to be a leader and encouraged taking on stretch assignments and to take them on with zeal. Dr.Holt encouraged the graduating class to invite themselves to the table and not to accept the status quo. She said they must care personally and challenge directly. Dr. Holt stated, “We can’t wait to see the work you do!” She recognized Gabrielle Patterson, a faculty member, Akili Moses Israel for staff excellence and Alison Bonner for academic excellence.
Special guests were Dr. Donald Bobbitt, AU System President and Dr. Charles Robinson, Chancellor, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.
Dr Bobbit spoke briefly to the graduates. The number of those who had failed to graduate around the country were mentioned. Then it was stated in contrast 400 were graduating at UAHT. Graduates were told to take the time to thank the people that had helped them.
Dr. Robinson talked about how music had been an inspiration to him and listed off music he listened to. He mentioned a singer (Russ) who states in his song, “I know I am fine but my money makes me handsome.” Dr. Robinson said that Russ knows something about human nature as people are treated better because of having money. Some people argue that acquiring money should be a principal part of the good life.
Dr. Robinson argued that Russ sold himself short and stated that we wonder why so many people have problems without looking at the cause of emphasizing money over higher and more substantive things  Dr. Robinson talked about students being afraid to lose the status that goes along with their major with engineering being very popular because of its demand.
Dr. Robinson said it is always better to pursue the dreams and the pursuit of values was more important than the pursuit of money. Dr. Robinson said he had nothing against the acquisition of wealth, but that it should not be the only purpose. He said he valued graduates for taking the time to find themselves argued that knowledge is what makes people attractive.
Laura Clark, Vice-Chancellor for academics certified the graduates and Freddie Smith, Chairman of UAHT Board of Visitors and Dr. Holt presented the degrees and certificates. John Gladden, Hempstead Hall Director presented the graduates and Smith presented them. The commencement closed with a recessional.