News Release

CHICAGO — More than 6,800 students will graduate from DePaul University this academic year and among them are accountants, playwrights, environmentalists, lawyers, film producers, teachers, real estate executives, Fulbright scholars, intercultural communicators and percussionists. They join a network of more than 160,000 DePaul alumni living around the world.

To celebrate their academic accomplishments with family and friends, six commencement ceremonies are planned for the weekend of June 14 and 15. A seventh was held for the College of Law in May. Details about the ceremonies, including information about commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients, are online at

Some of this year’s graduates are traditional students who entered college directly after high school. Others returned to school after serving in the military, raising a family or changing careers. Many of the graduates are first generation scholars — first in their families to graduate from college. Others are children of immigrants, carrying on a 116-year DePaul tradition. DePaul was established in 1898 in Chicago’s Lincoln Park by the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian priests and brothers) to serve the children of immigrants.

This year’s graduates have succeeded in an environment that values academic achievement and community responsibility — values that will remain with them throughout their lives and careers. Here are some of the stories from the class of 2014.

Simona Olah | B.S. Accountancy
Driehaus College of Business

Nine years after arriving in the U.S. from Romania, Simona Olah will embark upon an American business career with an employer that was at the top of her list. More>

Amanda Pflieger | B.A. Film Production
College of Computing and Digital Media

A family visit to Hollywood’s Universal Studios when Amanda Pflieger was 9 years old changed her life. From that moment on, her dream was to make movie magic. More>

Nicole Lind | B.A. Intercultural Communication
College of Communication

Nicole Lind’s parents encouraged her to discover what the rest of the world had to offer. While at DePaul she saw the societal issues Chicago faces; traveled to Los Angeles and explored the effects of homelessness; and studied peace, conflict and reconciliation in El Salvador. More>

Katy Rico | B.S. Environmental Science
College of Science and Health

As a budding scientist growing up on the North Side of Chicago, Katy Rico didn’t have to look far to find a strong role model. Her grandmother was a science teacher who sparked an interest in science and the world around her. More>

Kelly Sherman | B.A. Elementary Education
College of Education

Kelly Sherman says her passion for teaching started when she was 5 years old. The inspiration behind that passion is Sherman’s mother — a paraprofessional in special education. More>

Miriam Keep | B.A. International Studies and Arabic
College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences

Miriam Keep’s multiple experiences studying in the Middle East during college prompted her to study the history of Moroccan cities. As a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright grant, Keep will spend next year conducting research in Morocco. More>

Kimberly Rios and Armando Rios | J.D.
College of Law

Armando Rios and his niece Kimberly Rios had no idea they shared a passion for law. But on the afternoon of law school orientation, Kimberly turned around to find her uncle standing behind her. More>

Joshua Jones | B.M. Music Performance
School of Music

Joshua Jones went from banging on pots and pans as a child to becoming a percussionist in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Along the way, Jones received help from several professors and has mentored his own set of aspiring musicians in return. More>

Mike Checuga | B.A.
School for New Learning

As a lifelong Chicagoan, Mike Checuga, 45, is the first in his family to earn a college degree. Checuga had a successful career in real estate, a beloved son and a passion project in the Chicago theatre community, but something was still missing for him. More>

Lucas Baisch | B.F.A. Playwriting
The Theatre School

This spring, Baisch watched his dream unfold on stage as his play “The Scavengers” debuted at DePaul University’s Healy Theatre. He chose DePaul because “fourth-years get the opportunity to potentially have their work produced, which is a rarity amongst undergraduate programs.” More>


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