Class of 2015 graduates in style at unified commencement ceremony

Maya+Rudolf+performs+the+National+Anthem

Maya Rudolf performs the National Anthem

Kate Jamison, Online News Editor

Only at Tulane, only in New Orleans. The iconic school tagline held true at the unified commencement ceremony last weekend where the Class of 2015 was celebrated with jazz, assorted beverages, and an olive and blue second line.

The 2015 Tulane unified commencement ceremony was held May 17 at 9 a.m. in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The ceremony honored the efforts of over 3,000 graduates from both undergraduate and graduate programs.

After Daryl Berger, President of the Tulane Board, officially began the festivities, President Michael Fitts spoke of his “freshman year” at the University, where he said he learned to love the Tulane community and the city of New Orleans, citing his first year a huge success.

The student speaker, Matthew Marx, a graduate from the medical school (who had also earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Tulane) captured the disbelief that some of the graduates may have been feeling.

“You’re graduating…like right now…this is happening” Marx said.

During the speeches and presentations, many graduates were leaving their seats, later returning with large cups of cold beer. 

The unified commencement speaker was Maya Rudolf, a comedian and actress who got her start on Saturday Night Live. Rudolf made the crowd roar with laughter with her jokes about her own college days and her impressions of Oprah and Beyoncé. A video of her rendition of the Star Spangled Banner went viral on the internet, ending up on websites like Washington Post, Entertainment Weekly, and BuzzFeed.

Rudolf constantly cracked jokes that won her applause and laughs, but underneath the humor, she shared a worthwhile message.

“Hold on to your old friends, kiss your mama, work hard and don’t be lazy, and put away your damn iPhone every once in awhile,” Rudolph said.

After Rudolf’s speech, honorary degrees and awards were conferred.

The ceremony ended as only a New Orleans commencement could, with fireworks, lively jazz music, and a second line (complete with Tulane colored umbrellas). The graduates celebrated with hugs and dancing as they processed out of the Superdome onto their school-specific ceremonies and their bright futures.