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University confers over 2,300 degrees during Spring '23 Commencement Exercises

commencement spring 2023University confers over 2,300 degrees during Spring 2023 Commencement Exercises: Events at Wolstein, Waetjen tap into the diligence, resiliency and pride of CSU students

CLEVELAND, Ohio (May 13, 2023)—Cleveland State University (CSU) celebrated the Spring 2023 graduates with the 83rd Commencement exercises at the University’s Wolstein Center on Saturday, May 13. CSU conferred over 2,300 degrees to graduates during the exercises, which were amply attended by family, friends and supporters—cheering on the soon-to-be alumni.

“To get here today, you also chose to make sacrifices that really are required to be a successful college student. And at some point, you discovered your passion or your dream job, and you committed to pursuing it,” said CSU President Laura J. Bloomberg, Ph.D. during her opening remarks.

commencement spring 2023“Maybe some of you didn’t know exactly what you wanted, but you followed your instinct, sought the advice of trusted advisors, and pointed yourself in a direction. You ventured forth until you found a path. You should be really proud of yourselves for doing that.”

President Bloomberg called graduates from both Saturday events “resilient,” noting that their rites of passage were both bittersweet and hopeful. She expressed her appreciation for the students’ diligence “without compromising your own values, which prepares you well for life beyond college.”

“The gratitude part of the tapestry,” President Bloomberg added, comes in “recognizing and appreciating the people in your lives who have taught you, supported you, lifted you up.” She asked graduates to show them that gratitude, as they soak in a well-deserved sense of pride and accomplishment.

“I encourage you to let gratitude be your superpower.”

commencement spring 2023University Valedictorian Kelly Green (left) addressed the audience during the morning ceremony. The Bachelor of Social Work graduate (Summa Cum Laude) discussed her many challenges leading up to and including her educational journey CSU, moving some in the audience to tears and cheers.

She recounted that without the many resources offered by the University — "including empathetic and knowledgeable instructors who took the time to aid their students in grasping the concepts outlined in the classes” — she might not have made it through. She also thanked the Office of Disability Services.

“They made it possible for someone like me with ADHD, bipolar 2, anxiety and Crohn’s disease not only do well, but rise to the top of my class,” Green said.  “Without them providing accommodations to me and communicating those needs to my professors, I would not have had a chance.

commencement spring 2023“I think that’s one of the most important points that I want to make today, is that anyone can make it in school, despite their challenges… They really had my back when I needed it the most, and I wouldn’t be standing here today talking to you all without the people working hard to advocate for students with different needs.

“If you take anything away from my speech today, it is to never give up. Ten years ago, I had thought my life was over and I was going to die alone in a hospital bed, never having fulfilled my dreams,” Green paused.

“I am so grateful to be here today and to be able to prove to my old self that she was wrong. If you dream it, you can do it. Just keep putting your feet in the right place and keep moving. And ASK FOR HELP. I couldn’t have done anything without support,” she concluded.

commencement spring 2023“Cleveland State University, through an excellent education, support system, and experiential learning, has given us an opportunity to branch out, to learn from past mistakes, and to grow into ourselves,” said University Valedictorian Lindsey Shrodek (left).

The Summa Cum Laude graduate from the Monte Ahuja College of Business and the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Honors College, alluded to a favorite piece of music during her speech — likening her educational experience to being a city tree.

“And like any city tree, I wouldn’t be able to branch out without my roots, Shrodek said. “A city tree is supported by the community around it. Cleveland State University has always emphasized that ‘The city is our campus’ and this statement could not be closer to the truth.

commencement spring 2023“Like a city tree learning to grow surrounded by concrete and fencing, we are all here today because we are resilient,” she said. “We endured an unprecedented global pandemic and made our voice heard in monumental elections, all while balancing our studies. There are many instances of resiliency that may go unrecognized: many of us may have had to juggle employment and education.”

Shrodek was quick to point out that on top of that, some students may be supporting family, while returning as a non-traditional student and navigating mental- or physical health challenges.

Nevertheless, she and her classmates persisted, Shrodek said, adding a bit of ‘this-just-in’ news: she had been accepted to the University of Virginia Law program.

commencement spring 2023“Similar to a city tree, you may have realized that it is important to feel comfortable taking up space and thrive in your field, even if you feel underrepresented,” she added. “Learning happens every day – whether it is as simple as discovering a new book or as complex as defining yourself. Learning is not a linear process. As you may have realized, learning can be messy.”

It can also involve making mistakes and restructuring your way of viewing the world, Shrodek said. “Remember that just like trees, our life may have seasons of growth and seasons of dormancy.”

Many doctoral students who were honored at a Ceremony for Doctoral Graduates event Friday at CSU’s Walter B. Waetjen Auditorium (Music and Communication Building) returned to campus to be a part of the Saturday events. Freshly-hooded, they crossed the stage with their respective colleges and schools.

commencement spring 2023The final students to cross the stage during Commencement literally got down on all fours to accept their diplomas. Yes, CSU’s Therapy Dogs and canine friends-to-all Thor (with CSUPD Officer Thomas Lear, morning ceremony) and Rune (with CSUPD Officer Toni Jones, afternoon) were honored with American Kennel Club Therapy Dog Training certifications.

They were also hailed as “very good boys,” which drew loud ovations from all corners of the arena.

“Spring Class of 2023, you now join more than 143,000 graduates from Cleveland State University,” finalized President Bloomberg at all three ceremonies. “As alumni, you are our best ambassadors of goodwill and lifelong members of the Cleveland State University family.”

commencement spring 2023A repository of all three ceremonies for additional viewing can be found at

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About Cleveland State University

Founded in 1964, Cleveland State University is a public research institution that provides a dynamic setting for Engaged Learning. With nearly 16,000 students, 10 colleges and more than 175 academic programs, CSU was again chosen for 2022 as one of America’s best universities by U.S. News & World Report, including the #1 university in Ohio for social mobility. Find more information at

commencement spring 2023

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Near the shores of great Lake Erie, grand for all to view
Proudly stands our Alma Mater noble CSU
Lift your voices, join the chorus 'til our work is through.
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