University announces student speakers for 2019 commencement ceremonies

2019 student speakers
Top row, left to right: Melissa A. Rack, Jessica F. Morrison, Muhammad Saad Ahmed. Bottom row, left to right: Brandon Isler, Anna Pierce, Thomas J. Dammrich. This year's student speakers will address approximately 6,800 graduating students at the university's six commencement ceremonies this June at Wintrust Arena. (Composite by Jeff Carrion)
Speakers for DePaul's University's 2019 commencement ceremonies are campus and community leaders and representatives of Vincentian values. They will address approximately 6,600 graduating students at the university's six commencement ceremonies this June at Wintrust Arena.

Details about each college's commencement ceremony and its student speaker are listed below. Additional information can be found on DePaul's commencement website​.

College of Computing and Digital Media, and The Theatre School
(Combined ceremony)
Saturday, June 15
7 a.m. – Doors open
8 – 10:30 a.m.

Graduating from The Theatre School with a master’s in fine arts, Jessica F. Morrison is a native of Chicago’s South Side. She grew up in the church and has a deep appreciation for her roots in the black church, music and performance. She is a product of The Posse Foundation Chicago, and previously graduated with distinction from Carleton College. Morrison is an active spoken word artist, actor and musician. 

College of Communication and College of Education
(Combined ceremony)
Saturday, June 15
12 p.m. – Doors open
1 – 3:30 p.m.

Organizational communication student Anna Pierce transferred to DePaul after her freshman year at a four-year university in Nashville. Since becoming a Blue Demon, Pierce has been involved in the Student Government Association, serving as the senator for transfer students and as the elections and community engagement coordinator. She also is a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity, and has worked in the College of Communication as the student assistant to the Internship Director. Upon graduation this spring, Pierce will work as a corporate communications intern at United Airlines. 

College of Science and Health, and the School of Music
(Combined ceremony)
Saturday, June 15
5 p.m. – Doors open
6 – 8 p.m.

This June, Brandon Isler will graduate from the College of Science and Health with a bachelor’s of science in psychology with a concentration in cognitive neuroscience. For the past four years, Isler has studied addiction from various perspectives, ranging from biochemistry to criminology. Following his graduation from DePaul, Isler hopes to earn a doctorate degree and eventually hopes to run a multidisciplinary lab dedicated to developing evidence-based interventions for substance-use disorders, making the interventions accessible and affordable. 

College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and the School for New Learning
(Combined ceremony)
Sunday, June 16
7 a.m. – Doors open
8 – 10:30 a.m.

Earning a bachelor’s degree from the School for New Learning, Melissa A. Rack is a director of network services at AT&T, where she manages a team of over 500 employees throughout the Midwest. Rack is an advocate for cognitive diversity in the workplace. She builds teams that provide diversity of thought and perspective, and strives to inspire young women to join technology fields. She is an educator on gender in business and leadership, and leads a mentor program with emphasis on emboldening women to build their knowledge and skills needed to elevate to the next level.

Kellstadt Graduate School of Business
Sunday, June 16
12 p.m. – Doors open
1 – 3:30 p.m.

Thomas J. Dammrich has been president of the National Marine Manufacturers since 1999 and is a four-time graduate of DePaul. This spring he will earn a doctorate in business administration from the university. After jobs with DePaul in the Department of Student Housing and Graduate School of Business, Dammrich has spent 41 years in association management. Dammrich also serves on the Board of Directors of Wintrust Bank, the American Sportfishing Association, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations, the Center for Sportfish Policy, and is chairman of the board of the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable. He has served Secretaries of Interior and Commerce as a member of federal advisory committees advising on sportfish and boating policy and international trade policy. 

Driehaus College of Business
(Undergraduate students only)
Sunday, June 16
5 p.m. – Doors open
6 – 8:30 p.m.

Muhammad Saad Ahmed concurrently earned his bachelor’s in economics with a double major in international studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. In 2017, Ahmed earned the Gilman International Scholarship from the U.S. Department of State to study abroad in Belgium. During the program, he completed an internship with a member of the European Parliament. At DePaul, Ahmed participated in several political, cultural and business student organizations and served as a board member for three of them. He also co-founded a DePaul student organization that helps facilitate proactive dialogue about Middle Eastern politics. An active member of the College of Business, Ahmed was part of a team that won first place in the PwC Challenge case competition in 2016. Following graduation he plans to apply the skills and experiences he acquired at DePaul in a career in public service.

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