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Office of Commencement and Special Projects

The Office of Commencement and Special Projects, Division of Student Affairs, creates a memorable celebration for our graduates at commencement. Our students have worked hard to earn their degrees and commencement is a special occasion to recognize these achievements. In addition to planning and execution of all commencement ceremonies held in December and May, the Office of Commencement and Special Projects team supports the Division of Student Affairs in university-wide programming and special events.

A Brief History

The University of Miami was chartered in 1925 by a group of citizens who felt an institution of higher learning was needed for the development of their young and growing community. The South Florida land boom was at its peak, resources appeared ample, optimism flowed, and expectations were high. Supporters of the institution believed that the community offered unique opportunities to develop inter-American studies, to further creative work in the arts and letters, and to conduct teaching and research programs in tropical studies.

By the fall of 1926, when the first class of 560 students enrolled at the University of Miami, the land boom had collapsed, and hopes for a speedy recovery were dashed by a devastating hurricane. In the next 15 years, the University barely kept afloat. The collapse in South Florida was a mere prelude to a national economic depression. Such were the beginnings of what has since become one of the nation’s most distinguished private universities.

first graduates

The University of Miami celebrated its first graduates in June 1927. Photo: University Archives

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Learn more about the traditions of commencement

UMiami Commencement Traditions