On May 11, the University of Colorado Boulder hosted its 2023 commencement ceremony on Folsom Field.
The ceremony honored graduates across all of the university’s colleges that received bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees in the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023, as well as qualifying graduates that are set to graduate during the summer of 2023.
Commencement speaker Gov. Jared Polis reflected on the unique experiences that the graduating class of 2023 had seen throughout their time at CU Boulder.
“I don’t think there’s ever been a cohort of students that have seen the vast changes that you’ve seen in just four years,” Polis said. “From going completely online to wearing masks to the practical, free, universally accessible artificial intelligence, you have seen a lot of change in four years.”
The graduating class had unique demographics. Among the undergraduates were 76-year-old Rita Garson and 17-year-old Brian Tan.
Despite the graduates’ unusual university experience, marked by events such as COVID-19 and the Marshall Fire, speakers at the ceremony paid homage to a variety of experiences and places that unify both past and present classes of CU Boulder graduates.
“When you think back to your college days: the late nights at Norlin Library or, maybe, the late nights at The Sink on the Hill, you’ll remember the Saturdays spent here at Folsom Field, cheering on the Buffs as they lost yet again,” Governor Polis said.
Ethan Meyer, the commencement speaker and senior class council president, also addressed aspects of the university’s student culture that unified the class of graduates.
“Besides our beloved mascot, Ralphie, there is perhaps nothing more synonymous with the university than our [unofficial] motto, every CU student’s favorite two words: ‘Sko Buffs,’” Meyer said.
The commencement speakers both spoke of one of the most prominent issues facing graduates in their future endeavors: advancements in artificial intelligence.
“One area of momentous change, of so many during your time as a student, is in the field of artificial intelligence, or AI,” Polis said. “With these opportunities come challenges as well. There’s concerns about the ethical implications of AI in education.”
Polis later said that the controversial AI platform ChatGPT was intentionally used to write this portion of his commencement speech.
Polis encouraged graduates to view the challenges they faced throughout their time at CU Boulder and the skills that they gained to face such future challenges as a source of pride in their achievements.
“When you think about all you have been through, from pandemic to wildfires, I know you’ll feel pride, Buff pride,” Polis said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jessi Sachs at email@example.com.