Class of 2022 Celebrates and Embraces Change at In-Person Commencement

Class of 2022 Anteater Engineers celebrated commencement in person with family and friends.

June 15, 2022 – From selfies to Spider-Man to self-empowerment and embracing change, this year’s commencement marked a joyful return to an in-person celebration. New graduates and their families, friends and the campus community gathered for the UC Irvine Samueli School of Engineering Commencement Ceremony held Sunday, June 12, for bachelor’s and master’s degree students at the Bren Events Center. A graduate hooding ceremony was held Saturday, June 9, for those receiving doctorates.

The engineering school expects to award approximately 122 doctorates, 184 master’s degrees and 1,036 bachelor’s degrees this academic year.

Class of 2022 new graduates celebrate at Commencement

Kicking off the commencement festivities, Engineering Student Council President Kaylee Chew and ESC Vice President of Internal Affairs Jennifer Reyes helped officiate the Order of the Engineer oath at an induction ceremony on June 3. At the ceremony, Anteater Engineers promised to uphold the profession’s standards and dignity and accepted a steel ring to wear on their pinky finger. Dean Magnus Egerstedt addressed the inductees, and Associate Dean Michael Green assisted. James Powell, the Order of the Engineer governor for Southern California, also attended. This year, more than 160 undergraduate seniors and graduating master’s students from UCI, UC Riverside and other neighboring universities participated and took the oath.

At the Commencement Ceremony, Egerstedt praised the new graduates: “On behalf of the entire Samueli School of Engineering, I just want to tell you how incredibly proud we are of you. 

Dean Magnus Egerstedt with commencement student speaker Lili Castillo, who spoke about changing the perception of what it means to be an engineer: “An engineer is an agent of change. An engineer is exactly who you are today.”

“We’re rightfully a lot of times bragging about all the world-class research that goes on in our labs but all of that pales in comparison to what we are celebrating here today – because the number one thing we produce is people – people who go through our programs, people who graduate, and then go out into the world as researchers, educators, policymakers, entrepreneurs, industry leaders or whatever.”

He went on to quote Benjamin Parker in “Spider-Man,” “With great power comes great responsibility. And you now have a new super power. You are Anteater Engineers!”

One of those superheroes is student speaker A. Lili Castillo, mechanical engineering senior with a minor in biomedical engineering. As a first-generation college student, Castillo made her mark by empowering others through her involvement and leadership with student organizations and her research. After graduation, Castillo will attend graduate school in engineering education at Arizona State University where she will continue investigating engineering identity formation, specifically Latino/a/x and first-generation college students like herself.

Commencement student speaker Lili Castillo shares what her mother told her: "El cielo es el limite. The sky is the limit."

Castillo shared how her view of an engineer has transformed from when she first started college. “After coming to UCI and interacting with individuals just like you, my perception of an engineer has changed,” Castillo said. “Each and every one of us sitting here today has created a lasting change in the field. Simply by coming to UCI and completing our degree, we have broadened the definition of what it means to be and look like an engineer. We have overcome obstacles, limitations and societal norms to become leaders, achievers and pioneers.

An engineer is someone who thinks creatively and goes out of their way to find solutions for the world around them. Someone who looks at the world through a different lens – one full of hope and opportunity… An engineer is an agent of change. An engineer is exactly who you are today.”

Castillo encouraged her fellow graduates, “Never forget your worth and what value you bring to the table. And continue changing the perception of what it means to be and look like an engineer.”

And she exuberantly honored her mother: “To quote the biggest advocate for higher education that I know, my mom. Hola, Mami! El cielo es el límite. The sky is the limit.’”

Guest speaker alumnus Johnny Lincoln, founder of Lincoln Dynamic Foundation, shared his advice with new graduates to listen, learn and embrace change.

Alumnus and Samueli School Hall of Famer Johnny Lincoln ‘04 M.S. and ‘07 Ph.D. was the featured guest speaker. Lincoln is a philanthropist and founder of the Lincoln Dynamic Foundation, which seeks to address problems affecting youth and the environment.

After playfully apologizing for his “roguish” behavior as a graduate student, Lincoln sincerely addressed the crowd, “I’m truly honored to be here today to speak on behalf of a university that has done so much for me personally. So, thank you to our university, to the faculty and the administration for creating a space for us to learn.”

Lincoln shared some of his life experiences and how he found his way to becoming highly successful in business – all the while facing the unknown. He offered new graduates his practical tips for “prototyping a fun future” that have served him well: Listen, learn and embrace change.

“Your degrees are so beautiful because they teach you to learn comfortably and gracefully and calmly in the face of the unknown,” he said.

Commencement 2022 Anteater Engineers Zot! at the Bren Events Center during Commencement 2022.

Lincoln also welcomed new graduates into the UCI alumni community: “We are now your fellow engineers, your fellow alumni. The faculty, staff and administration on the stage, myself included, we are now among your professional colleagues. We are here for you. You are not alone.”

Finally, he encouraged them: “Class of 2022, I urge you all to push the boundaries of your own lives to explore what greater human experience is possible every single day. Have the courage and energy to listen, learn and live in change. Be kind, be brave, take risks and above all, get out there and have fun! Have a blast!”

Dean Magnus Egerstedt takes an "epic" selfie with the Class of 2022 Anteater Engineers.

Egerstedt returned to the podium to recognize and thank the new graduates’ families. After all the students were honored, Egerstedt concluded the ceremony with some good-natured competition with other schools and deans, taking a moment for an “epic” selfie and finally leading the crowd in a raucous “Zot! Zot! Zot!”

A universitywide commencement ceremony was held Wednesday, June 15, with more than 4,500 graduating students and their families participating. The ceremony and conferral was held at Angel Stadium of Anaheim with featured speaker Yusef Salaam, author, activist and one of the Exonerated Five young men wrongly convicted in the 1989 “Central Park jogger case.”

Watch the engineering school’s ceremony, the universitywide celebration, the graduate hooding ceremony and view the 2022 commencement program.

See more photos in the Commencement 2022 Facebook album and meet some outstanding Anteater Engineers Class of 2022.

– Tonya Becerra

Related Links