More than 1,800 University of New England graduates received degrees at the university’s 182nd commencement ceremony Saturday at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.

The degrees included bachelor’s, master’s and doctorates in osteopathic medicine, dental medicine, pharmacy, health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences, human services, education, management and the liberal arts.

A UNE College of Dental Medicine graduate receives her diploma from President Danielle Ripich Photos courtesy University of New England

The ceremony included the first graduating class of the university’s College of Dental Medicine. It was the 11th and final commencement ceremony for President Danielle Ripich, who is retiring.

Saturday’s graduation ceremony was the final commencement for  UNE President Danielle Ripich, who is retiring.

“The 62 men and women who will become Doctors of Dental Medicine today put their faith in UNE at a time when our Oral Health Center truly was just a ‘cavity’ in the ground awaiting construction,” she remarked. “They came to us as pioneers and, through their hard work and diligence, have established a culture of excellence for this, our newest college.”

The commencement speaker was Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and former chairman of the President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans in the Obama administration.


A group of UNE College of Dental Medicine graduates are all smiles.

Hrabowski was named one of America’s Best Leaders in 2008 by U.S. News & World Report. Time magazine named him one of America’s 10 Best College Presidents in 2009 and one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World in 2012.

Of the dental students who have announced their post-graduation plans, 47 percent will be staying in New England. At least 11 of those students are staying in Maine to practice or receive further professional training. Several more students have expressed a desire to return to Maine after completing residency and specialty programs.