Record-setting commencement is a first for UNL teacher program

It was another record graduating class with 3,669 graduates earning 3,753 degrees.
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 7:46 PM CDT|Updated: May. 21, 2023 at 11:23 AM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Inside Memorial Stadium, a different kind of uniform moved up and down the field on Saturday: graduation caps and gowns worn by thousands of graduating seniors.

It was a moment they’d been working toward for years. Walking across the stage, they beamed smiles as families cheered and blared airhorns.

UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green, who’s steered the university for seven years, gave the commencement speech as he plans to retire, urging graduates to dream big, work hard and stay humble.

“More than words, this is a call to action,” Green said. “A mindset to live by. Anything is possible if we have the courage to imagine it.”

It was also a day of new beginnings as those gown-clad seniors prepared for their careers—like Morgan Twiss, who’ll be teaching second grade at Lincoln’s Elliot Elementary School in the fall.

For Twiss, teaching ran in the family and it became a passion early on.

“I used to play school with my brother, and that dream of being a teacher never left,” Twiss said.

Twiss was part of the first 40-person cohort of the Teacher Scholars Academy, a new UNL program aimed at raising up a talented and diverse array of teachers to help address the teacher shortage in the state.

The cohort roomed on the same floor their freshmen year, and Twiss said that helped her bond with and grow alongside her peers.

“I knew that teachers scholars would push me professionally and make me the best teacher and prepare me to be the best I can be,” Twiss said.

Twiss student taught at Elliot, and she said she’s excited to start her career right here in Lincoln.

It was another record graduating class with 3,669 graduates earning 3,753 degrees.