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Ari Shapiro delivers commencement at University of Portland

By Tim Steele,


PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The commencement speaker for the University of Portland’s 2023 graduation is a singer with Pink Martini. An author of a memoir, “The Best Strangers in the World.” The co-host of NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The son of a former University of Portland professor. And a Portland native.

Ari Shapiro addressed the U-P graduating class on Sunday moments after the university bestowed on him a Doctorate of Humane Letters Honoris Causa degree, and he delivered an upbeat and honest look at what graduates will face in the real world.

Watch: U-P commencement

The graduates, described by university officials as “resilient, exceptional,” wore caps and gowns at the Chiles Center during two ceremonies, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon. This class began college in the fall of 2019, hung tough during the COVID-19 pandemic and earned their degrees.
Some of the University of Portland graduates at the Chiles Center, May 7, 2023 (KOIN)

“This is a moment you can look at the person next to you and say. ‘We did it!'” Shapiro told the graduates.

Shapiro, who lives in Washington DC to co-host All Things Considered, returned to Portland for the event. His mother, Dr. Elayne Shapiro, taught communications studies for many years.

Nursing graduates

The University of Portland also had a record number of nursing graduates.

The pandemic sparked a shortage of healthcare workers nationwide because of an increased demand along with burnout.

But graduate Adeline Paguirgian said it feels exciting and she’s ready to go.

U-P officials said this is the largest nursing graduating class in Oregon history — 252 graduates in the Class of 2023.

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