Pomp and Circumstance

By Maggie Haslam / May 31, 2024

Graduates Get Their Overdue Celebration at 2024 MAPP Commencement

Spring 2024 Graduate Commencement Class posing in gowns and regalia
Image Caption
Graduate students pose for a picture minutes before processing into the auditorium for MAPP's Spring 2024 Commencement. Photos: Jelena Dakovic.

If there was ever a group of students more deserving—and ready—to walk across a commencement stage, it was the class of 2024. Freshly pressed gowns and decorated caps could not detract from the smiles beaming off the parade of undergraduates as they weaved through a standing-room-only Clarice Smith Center for the Performing Arts auditorium–their first “real” graduation after COVID put high school ceremonies online. 

The undergraduate ceremony was one of two hosted this year by the School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation honoring over 150 undergraduates and 55 graduate students, including two doctoral candidates. The ceremony also included students who earned degrees in the Fall of 2023.

Yiselle Santos Rivera, principal and director of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion for HOK, reminded students to embrace curiosity during moments of uncertainty in her keynote speech, and to keep faith and courage in navigating their paths.

“These days, I’m less apologetic and a bit more courageous,” she said. “When I see an opportunity to make an impact, I take it. Sometimes, it’s as simple as showing up. Showing up and listening!”

At the graduate ceremony, Ph.D. alum and Dean of the College of Architecture and Planning at the University of Utah, Arnab Chakraborty ‘07 reminded students how lucky they were to be a part of the University of Maryland community—an institution that initially rejected him for graduate school. 

“Over the last few years, I am sure you have learnt a few things about yourselves and made a friend or two,” he said. “If you nourish this, these will be your friends for life; your guides when you need advice, your support in difficult times and those who celebrate your successes with you.”

Scroll down for more highlights from MAPP’s 2024 Spring Commencement Ceremony. To see all the pictures from the event, visit go.umd.edu/mapp-spring24-commencement.


decorated mortar boards
Inspirational quotes, sprawling gardens and 3-D printed hometowns (hello, Austin!) adorned a dozen mortar boards and provided eye candy for family and friends watching from the audience.


graduate switch tassels
Samatha Jamero M.Arch ‘24, Dominique Gebru M.C.P. ‘23, Vincent Turner M.H.P. ‘24, Merixia Kunjal MRED ‘24 and Alex Donahue Ph.D. ‘24 usher in their graduating class with the moving of their tassels. 
Mark Mammon gives speech
 “Understanding our world through our experiences has been a gift,” said real estate development graduate Mark Mammon ’24 on the diversity and fearlessness he and his classmates were afforded at UMD. Mammon, one of three undergraduate speakers, didn’t tell his parents he’d received the invitation to speak at the ceremony beforehand. “I wanted it to be a surprise,” he said. 
Class of 1974
Alums from the architecture class of 1974, this year's "Golden Terps," celebrated with the next batch of an alums at the undergraduate ceremony and reception.
michael abrams
Associate Clinical Professor Michael Abrams was one of four faculty and staff honored for their contributions to students this year. Abrams, a fan favorite with undergraduate students for his lively coursework and mentorship, received the Outstanding Teaching award.


senior marshals
Student marshals Nicole Bonacorso ‘24, Lynh Nguyen ‘24 and Riley Christian ‘24 ushered their graduating class into the Dekelboum Concert Hall at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center before taking a seat on stage with faculty.