June 18, 2018


09:30 AM - 12:00 PM

Bren Events Center
100 Mesa Road
Irvine, CA 92697

Looking for Grad Gifts?

Check out The Hill, UCI’s Bookstore, for apparel and accessories or visit the FAQ page on this site for flowers and leis at the ceremony.

Give Back to the School

Giving from recent graduates and their families is a treasured tradition at all prominent Universities. Today you can pay it forward and pave the way for the next generation by making a donation to the programs that helped shape your experience at the Merage School.

Merage School Alumni Network

Your membership is free; just keep in touch online to receive the latest news and extensive benefits.

Dean's Leadership Circle

Graduation is just the beginning. Continue to invest in your career, connect with global leaders and grow your network as a member of the Dean’s Leadership Circle. (Members receive VIP seating for their guests at Commencement - Contact Ariel Shrader at ashrader@uci.edu.)

UC Irvine Alumni Network

The UC Irvine campus offers additional alumni benefits for a small fee to expand your network even further.

Shout-out videos can be found here.

Congratulations to the Class of 2018!

Please join us for the Merage School's 50th Annual Commencement Ceremony on


 Monday, June 18, 2018 from 9:30 a.m. to Noon

(Students check in at 8:00 a.m.)


Commencement Address by Distinguished Executive Speaker

Craig Boundy
CEO Experian North America

and Student Speakers

Amy Hu, BA '18
Wajeeha Shakeel, FEMBA '18


Mace Marshal & Distinguished Alumnus

Tom Wagner, MBA '89
Principal, The Wagner Group LLC


Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia, presiding



The Paul Merage School of Business is pleased to be graduating more than 700 new business leaders at all levels — including our Undergraduate business majors, our Full-Time, Fully Employed, Executive and Health Care Executive MBAs, our Masters of Professional Accountancy, Masters of Finance, Masters of Science in Business Analytics and our Doctorate candidates.

Please see our FAQ section that covers a variety of information not found on other pages.

All Merage School Graduates:

Our Commencement Ceremony is conducted differently than other school ceremonies and many of the procedures are different. Please follow all instructions below and those emailed to you by your Merage School Program Office (NOT those instructions from UCIAA). Contact Us if you have any questions.

ALL GRADUATES MUST REGISTER TO PARTICIPATE BEFORE APRIL 20:  Visit https://register.merage.uci.edu/Event/All2018Graduates to register to participate in the ceremony. You will be asked questions regarding guest ticket requests, photography contact information, and your name pronunciation for the ceremony. If you wish to change any of this information later, simply fill out the form again before April 20. Only the last version of the form will be used.  

CHECK IN TIME 8:00 a.m.: All graduates (except PhDs) should plan to arirve at the Bren Events Center at 8:00 a.m. to check in and pick up reader cards, receive directions, etc. Allow time for parking and meet behind the Bren Center by the tennis courts. Guests are NOT allowed in the graduate check in area. Doors to the Bren Center open at 8:30 a.m.  

GUEST SEATING - MERAGE SCHOOL TICKETS REQUIRED: Up to 6 guests with tickets will be accommodated at the Bren Center and any additional guests may gather at the Merage School Auditorium to watch the ceremony streamed live. Use the participation registration link above to request general admission tickets online through the Merage School (NOT the UCI Commencement site) and downloadable tickets will be emailed directly to graduates on May 18 (Merage School ceremony tickets will NOT be available/distributed at the UCI Commencement site). 

VIP SECTION SEATING: For all graduates who join the Dean’s Leadership Circle by June 1, your ticketed guests may be seated in the VIP section near the stage and you will be recognized in the commencement program. Contact Ariel Shrader at ashrader@uci.edu. By June 14, you will receive special instructions for your ticketed guests to sit in the VIP section.

NATIONAL ANTHEM SINGER: Please sign up before the April 11 auditions: UCI 2018 National Anthem Auditions website. Reserved VIP seating is provided for the National Anthem singer's guests at Commencement. 

STUDENT SPEAKER: The Merage School is pleased to invite auditions for a graduating student speaker to represent the Class of 2018. Please download the Student Commencement Speaker Instructions for 2018 early to meet the initial April 4, 2018 deadline. Reserved VIP seating is provided for the Student Speaker's guests at Commencement. 

SELFIE SHOUT OUT VIDEO: Have some fun and film a shout out to your guests on your big day. While you are lining up for the procession, we’ll show all the Shout Out Videos to the audience inside the Bren Center so everyone can hear and see you thank your loved ones for their support. You can view a sample of past videos under the Past Events tab for 2017. Videos are due May 30. Download Instructions here.

PHOTOS: Students may not use cameras on stage, and no selfie sticks or items that block others are allowed at any time. Lifetouch Special Events Photography is pleased to provide this complimentary service for each graduate who crosses the stage during the ceremony. An email with further directions to view/order photos will be sent by Lifetouch to the address you provide when you register to participate in Commencement (see above). See FAQ tab for more information on how to contact Lifetouch.


Commencement Address Distinguished Executive Speaker

Craig BoundyCraig Boundy
Chief Executive Officer of Experian North America

Craig Boundy is Chief Executive Officer of Costa Mesa-based Experian North America, a $2.5 billion data and analytics firm, where he is responsible for the company’s North America business lines, including Credit Services and Decision Analytics, Consumer Services, Vertical Markets (Automotive and Health) and Marketing Services. He also is a member of Experian’s Global Operating Committee, which is dedicated to setting growth strategies. North America is the largest of Experian’s five major regions globally, representing more than 50 percent of its worldwide revenues.

Experian has been known primarily as a credit bureau, but in recent years under Craig’s leadership, the company has expanded its business around using data and analytics to help people manage their financial lives and protect their identity; to help companies manage, protect and grow their businesses; and to make a difference in society.

Experian North America has been recognized as a top workplace by the Orange County Register each year since Craig began leading the region’s 6,000 employees in 2014. Experian also was named a 2017 Top Company for Women Technologists by AnitaB.org. He attributes the success of Experian’s workplace to his focus on creating a culture based on collaboration, inclusion, innovation, two-way communication, valuing one another, and, ultimately, delighting customers.

An accomplished global business leader, Craig joined Experian in 2011 as Managing Director of Experian UK and Ireland before becoming CEO of North America in 2014. Prior to Experian, Craig was CEO of Logica in the United Kingdom, having joined the organization in 2008 as CEO of Global Operations. Before that, he served as Chief Operating Officer for Cable & Wireless’s business in Europe, the United States and Asia. Previously, Craig served as Sales Director and then COO at Energis. His early career was with British Telecommunications.

Born and raised in England, Craig attended Lancaster University in Lancashire, graduating in management studies and German in 1997. He is fluent in four languages — German, English, French and, as he lightheartedly says, “American” — all of which he credits for helping him to connect with people, both linguistically and culturally.

Craig has a passion for playing squash, soccer and basketball. He is an avid fan of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder.

He lives in Orange County with his wife and two children.

Class of 2018 Student Speakers

Amy Hu, UndergraduateAmy Hu
Business Administration, Business Economics and Sociology Major; 2018 Chancellor's Award of Distinction

Amy Hu is a triple-major Business Administration, Business Economics, and Sociology student in the Campuswide Honors Program. Along with excelling in her academics, she has demonstrated initiative, passion, and dedication to the University of California, Irvine, through numerous leadership experiences and campus involvements. They include being the Founder and President of two student organizations, Women in Leadership and Real Estate Association at UCI, and serving as a Peer Academic Advisor for the Merage School and the Peer Academic Advising Program Coordinator. She also served as Vice President of Academic Affairs for the Merage Undergraduate Student Association, Student Programming Funding Board Commissioner for ASUCI, and Lead Research Assistant for Tweet2Quit. Amy has volunteered her time as an Ambassador and Treasurer of Anteater Ambassadors Network and the Chair of the 2018 UCI Senior Class Gift Committee. In 2017, Amy was named a recipient of the Distinguished Anteater Award and the Nitori Scholarship, followed by the Commercial Real Estate Women Scholarship in 2018.

In her free time Amy enjoys singing, listening to country music, and spending time with her family and friends. Upon graduation, Amy will pursue small business ownership by joining her older sister Wendy, a Merage alumna, and her younger sister Mary, a current Merage student, in the family business. 


Wajeeha Shakeel, Fully Employed MBA GraduateWajeeha Shakeel
Fully Employed MBA Graduate

Wajeeha Shakeel obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration-Finance from University of Southern California in 2011. She pursued her career aspirations in banking by joining a community bank in Whittier, California as a credit analyst after graduation. She had various responsibilities during her tenure at the bank including serving as a Secretary of Compliance Committee and Banker’s Secrecy Act Committee, reporting to the Board of Directors. Wajeeha is currently a Relationship Manager at Pacific Enterprise Bank in Irvine where she manages a portfolio of clients and underwrites loans, helping small businesses and entrepreneurs realize their dreams.

In the little time that she has between school and work, she serves as a Program Director of GirlTalkers, an organization committed to providing a supportive community that aims to unite, inspire, and connect women everywhere to realize their unique value. Driven by her passion and vision of a beautiful world in which nature and business thrive in harmony, Wajeeha volunteers as a Consultant at Seed Consulting Group. She capitalizes on her educational background and skills to help organizations that strive to become more environmentally conscious and sustainable in their practices. Wajeeha loves traveling to new places, experiencing diverse cultures, meeting interesting people, and spending time with family and friends. 

Honorable Mention

Congratulations to Undergraduate Allie Loomis and FTMBA Graduate Robby Ahn whose auditions were also outstanding.


June 18, 2018
9:30 am, Bren Events Center
UCI Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia, presiding

Shout-out videos can be found here.



  • Mace Marshal & Distinguished Alumnus Tom Wagner, MBA '89, Principal, The Wagner Group LLC

Academic Procession

  • Platform Party
  • Advanced Degree Candidates 
  • Baccalaureate Candidates

National Anthem

  • Presented by Brittany Deneau, Associate Director of Specialty Masters Career Services at UCI Paul Merage School of Business


  • Enrique Lavernia, PhD, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor, The University of California, Irvine

Opening Remarks

  • Eric R. Spangenberg, PhD, Dean, The Paul Merage School of Business

Distinguished Executive Commencement Speaker

  • Craig Boundy, CEO Experian North America

Graduating Student Speakers

  • Wajeeha Shakeel, Fully Employed MBA Graduate
  • Amy Hu, Business Administration, Business Economics and Sociology Major

Conferring of the Degrees

  • Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Enrique Lavernia

Presentation of Doctor of Philosophy Degree Candidates

  • Terry Shevlin, PhD, Professor of Accounting, Paul Merage Chair in Business Growth, and Associate Dean of Research and Doctoral Programs

Presentation of Master of Business Administration Degree Candidates*

  • Gerardo Okhuysen, PhD, Professor of  Organization and Management, and Associate Dean of Masters Programs

Presentation of Master of Professional Accountancy Degree Candidates

  • Patricia Wellmeyer, PhD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Accounting and Academic Director of the MPAc Program

Presentation of Master of Finance Degree Candidates

  • Zheng Sun, PhD, Associate Professor of Finance and Academic Director of the MFIN Program

Presentation of Master of Science in Business Analytics Degree Candidates

  • Sanjeev Dewan, PhD, Professor of Information Systems and Academic Director of the MSBA Program

Presentation of Bachelor of Arts Degree Candidates

  • Vidyanand "VC" Choudhary, PhD, Associate Professor, Information Systems and Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs

Concluding Remarks

  • Dean Eric R. Spangenberg

* Order called will be Full Time MBA, Executive MBA, Health Care Executive MBA, then Fully-Employed MBA programs


Post-Ceremony Reception at the Merage School

Immediately following our Commencement Ceremony at the Bren Events Center, you and your guests are welcome to join the dean, speakers, faculty and staff on the Merage School grounds for light refreshments and joyful celebration.

To allow parking space for the next ceremony's guests, please reposition your automobile from the Bren Events Center to the Merage School parking garage (SSPS on maps). Thank you. 


The 2018 Commencement Ceremony will be held at the Bren Events Center on UC Irvine's campus. Parking is free for all Commencement ceremonies.

PLEASE NOTE: There will be a purse/bag inspection at the door; it is best to leave all backpacks and bags at home or in the car before entering the Bren Events Center.

Commencement Map

Download Directions

Bren Center Seating - Tickets Required

All graduates will be seated with their class on the main floor, and guests with tickets have their choice of stadium seating surrounding the floor. You can download this general seating and staging map to see which sections are closest to each graduate program. Up to 6 guests with tickets will be accommodated at the Bren Center and any additional guests may gather at the Merage School Auditorium to watch the ceremony streamed live. In late May, each program office will distribute general admission tickets directly to graduates (tickets will NOT be available/distributed at the UCI Commencement site).


Have a question?  Email us.


Why do I have to register by April 20 to participate in the ceremony?


The online registration process that MUST be completed by April 20 includes guest ticket requests, contact information for the photographer, direction on how you want your name printed in the Merage School program, and a phonetic pronunciation of your name to be read aloud when you cross the stage. 


Are guest tickets required and how many guests can graduates bring?


Up to 6 guests with tickets will be accommodated at the Bren Center and any additional guests may gather at the Merage School Auditorium to watch the ceremony streamed live. Beginning February 21, graduates have until April 20 to register to participate in the ceremony and request tickets at https://register.merage.uci.edu/Event/All2018Graduates. Downloadable tickets will be emailed directly to graduates on May 18 (Merage School ceremony tickets will NOT be available/distributed at the UCI Commencement site). No tickets will be available at the door.


How can I apply to be the Student Speaker?


Student Speaker auditions are managed by the Merage School. Please download the Student Commencement Speaker Application for 2018 early to meet the April 4, 2018 deadline to submit a speech and video sample. Reserved VIP seating is provided for the Student Speaker's guests at Commencement. 


How can I audition to sing the National Anthem?


Anthem Singer auditions are managed by the campus. Please visit their website for instructions and to sign up before the April 11 auditions. Reserved VIP seating is provided for the National Anthem singer's guests at Commencement. 


How do I provide a Shout Out Video for my guests at Commencement?


Please follow the directions on the Contact Us tab before May 30 to send us your (no more than) ten-second video that we'll show to the audience before the ceremony. 


How can I receive VIP section seating?


Only graduates who join the Dean’s Leadership Circle by June 1 will receive passes for their ticketed guests to sit in the reserved VIP section closer to the stage and be recognized in the Commencement Program. Contact Ariel Shrader at ashrader@uci.edu. By June 14, you will receive special instructions for your ticketed guests to sit in the VIP section.


I have a guest who requires Disability Services. What should I do?


The Bren Center features indoor stadium seating for guests. Please contact Diane Sagey to ensure any necessary accommodations are met, including those needing wheelchair access or those unable to use stairs. Guests with Disabled Parking placards should enter through the Mesa Road entrance of the Mesa Parking Structure (next to the Bren Center) and should clearly show their placard to the attendant. The parking attendants will direct them to Disabled Parking on the 2nd floor. Disabled Parking is limited and will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. There is a cart service available for disabled guests that don’t park in the Mesa Parking Structure.


Where do students order their cap and gown?


Each program office emails students with directions on purchasing or renting proper regalia. The PhD and Undergraduate programs purchase theirs from UCIAA at Grad Expo. The Masters programs rent theirs on a Merage School registration website. See the Home page of this website for links. NOTE: All Masters graduates must return their gowns in the boxes provided at the Bren Center or at the Merage School Reception directly after the ceremony. Failure to do so will result in a $400 fee.


Can I wear a stole over my regalia?


Only undergraduates may wear stoles. Tradition dictates that the Masters and PhD hood serve as the only ornament to the graduate regalia (except cords).


What is a "bling" tassel that costs extra?


TTassel Choiceshe regular tassel is blue and gold with a medallion that has the year on one side and the UCI Seal on the other. The bling tassel has the year in rhinestones (click on image to enlarge).


What is the UCI Anteater gown zipper pull and do students get to keep it?


The UCI Anteater zipper pull is a souvenir gift from the UCI Alumni Association that every grad may remove from the zipper pull and keep. (click on image to enlarge).Grad Souvineer


Can commissioned U.S. military officers wear their dress uniform instead of the traditional cap and gown?


Yes. We are honored to have our military officers so recognized.


Where do students pick up their cap and gown?


All Masters and PhD Cap and Gowns will be distributed by each Merage School program office beginning approximately June 5. You will be notified when they are available. You can download instructions on how to wear the Masters regalia.  Undergraduate cap and gowns are purchased and picked up directly at GradExpo (watch this link for further information).


Will there be profesional photography at the event?


Yes. Lifetouch Special Events Photography is pleased to provide this complimentary service for each graduate who crosses the dais during the commencement ceremony. Go to the site https://events.lifetouch.com/uci  for information about commencement photographs.  Any questions can be addressed to specialevents@lifetouch.com, or call 800-505-9496 Monday – Friday 8:00am – 6:00pm EST, or via the Web site http://events.lifetouch.com/about/contactus.aspx. There is no obligation to purchase. If a valid e-mail address is available to the photographer (provided when you registered to participate in Commencement), a link to commencement photograph proofs will also be sent to participating graduates via e-mail. Please do not contact the school with inquiries related to photographic service.


Will the ceremony be shown on the Internet?


Yes, the ceremony will be streamed live to the internet. The URL is http://commencement.uci.edu/#/webstream


I've seen flowers and leis in graduates' photos. Are they for sale?


Yes, in late May, you can pre-order flower/lei gifts from Commencement Flowers here and pick them up at their booth outside the Bren Center at the event. They will also have a limited number of flowers for sale at the booth. Note: guests are not allowed in the graduate line-up area so any gift-giving before the event should be done before 8:00 a.m. when students must check in for line up.


What other gift ideas are available?


The UC Irvine bookstore carries Merage School apparel and UC Irvine memorabilia.


What time do the doors open for guests to be seated?


Approximately one hour before the ceremony, at 8:30a.m. 


What items are not allowed at the Bren Events Center?


There will be a security check of all purses and bags entering the Bren Events Center. It is best to leave backpacks and bags at home or locked and securely hidden in your car. While it is certainly a day to celebrate, we appreciate everyone's courtesy not to distract from the ceremony or disrupt the enjoyment/picture taking of other students and guests with items such as horns, balloons, etc. Selfie sticks or any other items that distract or block the view of others are not allowed. No selfies of any kind on stage, please. 


For post-event planning, what is the timing for the day at UC Irvine?


Graduates must check in at 8:00 a.m.. Bren Center doors open to guests at 8:30 a.m.. We begin the ceremony at 9:30a.m. sharp and conclude by approximately noon.  The time to exit the Bren Center and exit the parking lots can be another 20-45 minutes (we do not recommend mingling outside the Bren Center — it is extremely crowded). The reception at the Merage School, for those who wish to attend, can be another 20-60 minutes seeing faculty, staff, family and friends. 


Tell me more about the Reception following the ceremony. 


Light refreshments (lemonade, iced tea, water and cookies) will be available on the Merage School grounds immediately following the ceremony. Dean Spangenberg, our Commencement speakers, program staff and select faculty are looking forward to meeting our newest alumni's families and friends. For those visiting the School for the first time, there is a self-guided tour map of a few distinguished classrooms and spaces showing videos. This reception is completely optional as a final opportunity to celebrate with others on campus before heading out for the evening.


Where can I find general information about UCI commencement ceremonies?


Please visit www.commencement.uci.edu for general information; however, the Merage School conducts its own ceremony, so some of the information may be different. If you are unsure, please email Diane Sagey or your program office with any questions.  

Past Events


History of Commencement

The colorful traditions surrounding academic regalia – gowns, caps, hoods, tassels, and cords – date back to the first European universities. What began in the Middle Ages as clothing worn by clerics to provide warmth in damp, unheated buildings progressed, by the time of Henry VIII of England, to detailed codes of dress prescribed by Oxford University and Cambridge University.

In the late 1800s, universities in the U.S. began to assign specific colors to signify the different academic disciplines, and those colors now appear in the trim of graduates’ gowns, the edging of hoods, and sometimes on the tassels of caps. The color white for example, which at Oxford and Cambridge is the white fur trim of baccalaureate hoods, in America was assigned to arts, letters and humanities graduates.


Baccalaureate gowns, usually black, have wide pointed sleeves and are worn closed. Master’s gowns have oblong slit sleeves that open at the wrist and are worn open or closed. Doctoral gowns have bell-shaped sleeves and are worn closed. Holders of the Doctoral degree may wear a velvet facing on the front of the gown and three velvet bars across the sleeve. The velvet may be black or it may be the color appropriate to the subject in which the wearer holds the degree.


Hoods are ornamental folds draped down the back of the shoulders of academic gowns worn by Master’s or Doctoral degree graduates. Master’s degree candidates wear hoods lined with colors that reflect their course of study, such as Business Administration. Doctoral degree hoods have a silk lining with the colors of the institution from which the wearer has graduated. Graduates from the University of California system wear hoods lined with blue and gold, the university’s official colors, as well as colored velvet bands. 

The color of the velvet band on the Master’s and Doctoral hood indicates the title of the degree; the band on Masters hoods at the Paul Merage School of Business is officially called "drab" or tan. A doctorate recipient, regardless of the field of study, wears dark blue because the title of the degree is Doctor of Philosophy.

At the University of California, Irvine, all graduates wear a duo-color tassel made up of the University's colors, blue and gold. The year is stamped on the reverse side of the University of California, Irvine, official seal. Undergraduates receiving a degree have their tassel start on the right side and then it is moved to the left. Graduate level degree recipients start the tassel on the left side and it is not moved. 


UC Irvine baccalaureate graduates, who have received campus-wide Latin honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude), wear gold cords. The Chancellor’s Award of Distinction recipients wear the blue and gold shoulder cord. Those who have received academic unit awards and prizes, or who have been elected to honor societies, wear blue cords. 

Graduate candidates receiving the Dean’s Scholar award wear two gold cords and those receiving the Beta Gamma Sigma award wear a blue and gold cord. Silver cords are for shareholders of the Dean’s Leadership Circle.


From its origins in the Middle Ages, the club shaped staff known as a mace has gradually taken on ceremonial character as a symbol of authority. In an American tradition begun in 1789 by the first Speaker of the House, the U.S. House of Representatives’ mace is one of the oldest symbols of our nation’s government, and is used both to open all sessions of the House and in the inaugural ceremonies for all Presidents of the United States.

The UCI Alumni Association, with the assistance of Associate Vice Chancellor Student Affairs Emeritus Chuck Pieper and Scenic Shop Supervisor Keith Bangs of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, presented the UC Irvine Mace to the campus on May 12, 2000. While the silver orb at the top of the staff might be the first thing to catch the eye, the staff itself is memorable and unique. Carved from California oak, it is fashioned to resemble the nose of an anteater, the school mascot. The UC Irvine Mace was first carried at the 2000 Commencement ceremonies by the president of the UCI Alumni Association, Deborah Daniel. The Mace is always carried by a distinguished UC Irvine alumnus or alumna and leads the Commencement processional.


2018 Commencement Committee Members

Please contact your class Commencement Manager with any questions:


Have some fun and pre-film a shout out to your guests on your big day. While you are outside lining up for the procession, we’ll show all the shout out videos to the audience inside the Bren Center where your loved ones can hear and see you thank them for their support. If you want to participate, simply follow these steps by May 30 (Download these instructions):

  1. Find a quiet space with minimal background noise. Feel free to be creative, or a simple smile and "thank you" to loved ones is just as appreciated.
  2. Record your own (no more than) 10-second selfie video. IMPORTANT: turn your phone to film the video in landscape mode (wider rather than taller). If you have the capability to adjust video settings on your phone or camera, use 1080p at 30 frames per second (720p is acceptable) - if you don't know how, that’s okay...send us what you record.
  3. Name the file with your program and name (as in: FEMBA John Jones) 
  4. By May 30, transfer the file to us using the free service at www.WeTransfer.com (there’s a phone app, too): On the screen, click on the “+ Add files” button. For “Friend’s email,” use brightfuture@merage.uci.eduThen type in your email address where it asks. Click on the “Transfer” button.  Watch for a confirming email from us within the next three working days – email us if you don’t receive confirmation.

We’ll compile all of these videos into one long one to show to the audience inside the Bren Center while you grads will be preparing for the processional outside the Bren Center.

Limit one up-to-10 second video per graduate. All videos will be reviewed for content. We reserve the right not to use any video that is too long or is deemed inappropriate for any reason, without notification.