A squid hat. An ocarina performance. A brand-new school logo. These and other unique touches marked the 2018 UC Santa Barbara College of Creative Studies (CCS) commencement ceremony, which took place Sunday, June 10 at UCSB’s Campbell Hall.
Roughly 80 undergraduates from the unique college for self-directed students received degrees and honors, gave speeches, played music and enjoyed a solid send-off into their futures from alumni and faculty alike.
”Go fly; congratulations. And thank you,” said CCS Interim Dean Kathy Foltz in closing her speech to the class of 2018. Many already had plans for graduate studies; several chose to go into industry; and others kept things more open-ended.
No matter their direction, urged Foltz and alumni speaker Danna Staaf (’05 biology), students should define success for themselves. “We need to embrace our own passions, understand our own needs and make the choices that are right for us,” Staaf said on choosing meaningful work. An expert on cephalopods, Staaf managed to combine her affinity for squid with her journalistic talent as a science writer and educator.
Several CCS students earned additional accolades for their work. Colin Kim (chemistry/biochemistry) received the Chancellor’s Award for Undergraduate Research. Meanwhile, three students — Chloe Isabella Avery (mathematics), Christina Garcia (physics) and Marvin Qi (physics) — each received a CCS Faculty Executive Committee Commendation of Excellence Award.
The event was significant in other ways, too. For designer Jon Ritt, who was a CCS art student in the 1980s, it was a chance to finally march across the stage, an event he “postponed” for 29 years. Ritt created a new logo for the college for its 50th anniversary year, which has been celebrated throughout the 2017-18 academic season.
The ceremony was held in memory of Nikola Kapamadzin, a CCS mathematics major who died in 2017. He was awarded a posthumous degree.