2022 Multiethnic Graduation Celebration

College Celebrates 40 Students

As part of the Commencement celebrations throughout campus, the Office of Multicultural and International Student Services hosted the 15th annual Multiethnic Graduation Celebration on Thursday, May 12, 2022. This event formally recognized and celebrated the 40 honorees and their families’ support, sacrifice, resilience, and achievements.

In celebrating the students’ unique journeys at Saint Mary's, Adriana Petty, director of multicultural and international student affairs, describes the significance to celebrate the graduates. “The honorees have had shared experiences and obstacles they've overcome to earn their Saint Mary's degree,” she said. “Some are the first in their families to go to college and carry their families and community’s hopes, expectations, and dreams on their shoulders.”

The celebration included a prayer and land acknowledgement from Student Trustee Eliana Sanchez ’22, as well as reflections from students Akpedze Balo ’22, secretary of Student Diversity Board and president of the Black Student Association, and Saomi Segura ’22, who will earn her Bachelor of Science in Physics and Applied Math. Co-founder of the Multicultural Alumnae Group Angelina Johnson ’07 also shared her remarks with the honorees. 

Nicole Turnipseed Durkin ’01 returned to campus as the keynote speaker for the celebration. She encouraged graduates to fully embrace their success and remember to lean on the bonds they formed at Saint Mary’s when they encounter tough times ahead. 

While at Saint Mary’s Durkin studied business administration. Today, she has more than  20 years of experience as a risk mitigation and forensic accounting professional. In her current role, Durkin is the national director of audit incident response within RSM’s National Professional Practice Group, and serves as a liaison between the firm’s audit teams and the client’s investigating counsel and forensic accountants. Durkin has significant experience serving both privately held and publicly traded clients of different sizes as well as a diverse range of industry experience including consumer and industrial products, financial services, healthcare, media, not-for-profit and real estate entities, and private equity portfolio companies.