Bita Riazi

Bita Riazi

In Winter 2019, a student in our program was been chosen by UMD as their December main commencement student speaker.  Her name is Bita Riazi. We are so extremely proud of Bita's accomplishments and selection!  Bita has a great story and is a true advocate for Shady Grove.  Please see Bita's Bio below and join us in celebrating her accomplishments!

Bita Riazi // Student Speaker

For Bita Riazi, graduating from the University of Maryland is the culmination of the hopes that her immigrant family carried to the United States nearly 30 years ago. Her parents left Iran and all their relatives behind for Maryland in 1991, hoping then-one-year-old Riazi’s educational prospects would be brighter. And while the journey to a degree wasn’t a straight line, it has been rewarding. “I had a lot of faculty who believed in me,” she says. Riazi earned an associate’s degree in general studies from Montgomery College in 2011 and planned to immediately transfer to UMD. But when her parents faced several health crises, Riazi, an only child, instead took care of them and worked full time at a spa in Gaithersburg. “I always did want to go back and finish school, but sometimes life happens,” she says. “Family is first.” Beset by doubts about being able to navigate a return to higher education, Riazi attended three open houses at the Universities of Shady Grove, which offer several UMD degree programs, before taking the leap. It was the best way, she says, to honor the sacrifices that both she and her family had made. “I’m going back for me,” she told her parents at the time, “but I’m really going back for you guys.” Over the next two years of pursuing her bachelor’s degree in communication, Riazi made Dean’s List every semester and was nominated for the dean’s Senior Scholar Award. Since August, she has also been a programming and production intern in the D.C. Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment, booking guests, researching stories, writing scripts and other duties. While interested now in a career in media and entertainment reporting, Riazi ultimately wants to work in a field that can help and inspire people, be it through writing or speaking. Her experience at UMD has been a key step toward that goal. “Between the faculty and my fellow Terps, they all have such impeccable vision,” Riazi says.

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IMPORTANT UPDATE: In response to COVID-19, all UMD online instruction, which had already been scheduled to start on March 30, 2020, will continue through the end of this academic year. Additionally, the USG campus has been closed until May 31st, 2020.

Unfortunately, there will not be an in-person spring 2020 commencement. With that said, we know our graduating students have worked so hard and that they, and their families want to celebrate this milestone. While we can’t celebrate in person this Spring, we are still making plans to recognize the accomplishments of our resilient graduates, including:


Virtual Commencement, May 22, 2020 1:00 p.m. 
A virtual ceremony streamed live across multiple platforms, featuring special remarks, and photos, videos and messages crowdsourced from graduates. 
 
Football Game Recognition, Sept. 12, 2020
Complimentary tickets for graduates and guests to the home football game. Further details are forthcoming. 
 
Winter Commencement, Dec. 20, 2020
Invitation for graduates and their families to attend and participate in the December 2020 in-person commencement ceremony. Further details are forthcoming. 

Campus-Wide Ceremony

Friday, May 22, 2020  |  1:00 p.m.
11:00 a.m. Doors Open | 11:30 a.m. Graduates report to the Pavilion | 12:20 p.m. Procession Begins 
1:00 p.m. Ceremony Begins
Xfinity Center | College Park, MD

Communication Ceremony

(This is when you walk across the stage)

Thursday, May 21, 2020  |  7:00 p.m.
Reckord Armory | College Park, MD

For more information regarding Spring Graduation dates, please click here