When Beatriz Machado walked across the stage at graduation and spotted her family holding a bright yellow sign for her from the bleachers, she broke down in tears.
“I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is happening and the most important people are here with me, and they’re watching this live,'” she said, wiping tears from her eyes moments later. come off stage. “I’m just happy, really happy.”
Machado, 21, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering Saturday morning at Florida International University’s inaugural commencement ceremony for the spring semester.
South Florida’s largest public school will award more than 7,000 degrees this weekend — about 5,400 bachelor’s degrees, 1,100 master’s degrees, 20 specialist and 400 doctoral degrees. Last spring, the CRF granted about 6,500 degrees.
FIU was expecting 4,600 graduates and more than 34,600 total guests to attend the six in-person events held at FIU’s stadium on the main Modesto A. Maidique campus in West Miami-Dade on Saturday and Sunday, the gate said Friday. – FIU spokesperson, Madeline Baro. Despite the rain forecast, the CRF will not cancel any gatherings unless lightning strikes.
Machado, a native of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, moved to Florida at age 14 and enrolled in Montverde Academy, a boarding school in Orlando.
“It was tough. We’ve been away from everyone for seven years. It gives the impression that the efforts paid off,” said Machado, who signed a contract to work for BTG Pactual, a financial company, two days before graduating.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions between Brazil and the United States, seeing her uncle, mother and cousin in the audience was special, she said. On the way back to his seat, Machado jumped up, waved, and flashed a heart with both of his hands.
Her relatives lifted the poster they had brought, which read in capital blue letters drawn from sequins:
“The success is yours, but the pride is ours. It was worth all the effort, dedication and moments apart. We are here for you and with you because we love you.
No main speakers, no “OK” roles
The ceremonies will not include any keynote speaker. During Saturday morning, Acting FIU President Kenneth Jessell instead delivered some remarks for the graduates.
“Class of 2022, now more than ever, you can and should make a difference,” Jessel told them. “This world needs your passion, your knowledge and your commitment.”
The graduates, who hesitated between unpacking their ponchos as the dark clouds above threatened to descend on them, and swallowing bottles of cold water as they fanned themselves to relieve themselves from the scorching sun , applauded.
For some, the message to change their lives and the lives of others resonates.
Jephery Francis, 29, completed a master’s degree in public administration at CRF this spring. Now he feels ready to put into practice what he has learned.
“I didn’t go back to school to get an OK role next,” he said. “I know that I will soon be a new leader. My plans are to move on and reach that next level.
Francis, a resident of Miami Gardens, first earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida State University in Tallahassee in 2015. At the start of the pandemic, he pursued a bachelor’s degree in public administration from FIU, then his master’s degree. .
While studying full-time at FIU, Francis also worked full-time at the Miami Foundation and managed two businesses he co-owns, a yacht brokerage and a car rental.
“I feel amazing,” he said. “It really feels like a big weight is lifting off my shoulders.”
He sacrificed a lot of birthday celebrations and weekend brunches instead of writing assignments and watching lectures for his online classes. And he is grateful to the faculty and staff at FIU who helped him, he said.
“The program was amazing. I would recommend it to everyone – full-time or part-time,” he said. “It’s definitely made for adults who want to go back to school and further their education. A lot of times people say, “Oh, I don’t have time,” but I had classmates who had kids and were further along in their careers and they all managed to make it work. .
This story was originally published April 30, 2022 2:43 p.m.