Mollie and Ann Ronald
Mollie and Ann Ronald

The Dec. 18 winter commencement was a “twofer” for the Ronald family of Louisville.

Just hours after Ann Ronald took part in a 3 p.m. doctoral hooding ceremony, her daughter, Mollie Ronald, received a master’s degree at the main commencement ceremony. Both are graduates of the College of Education and Human Development.

“My mom and I are excited to graduate on the same day,” Mollie Ronald said in an email message.

The mother-daughter team was among the more than 800 students who took part in commencement at the KFC Yum! Center.

View photos here.

Graduation day was especially meaningful for 23-year old Iraqi-born Lamia Shnawa, who immigrated to the U.S. in 2007 under an emergency visa program because her life was in danger. At that time, Shnawa was an interpreter for the Bagdad-based U.S. Army in the heavily fortified Green Zone—a job that caused her to receive death threats from terrorists.

“It was a horrible life and a horrible way to go to work,” said Shnawa who graduated with a master’s degree from CEHD with a concentration in English as a second language.

As a teenager in Iraq Shnawa said the opportunity to finish a degree in the U.S. was something she “dreamt about” and now that graduation day has arrived it is “a dream come true.”

Her entire family—mother, two sisters and three brothers—have all left Iraq and now live in Louisville.

UofL President James Ramsey presided at the 7 p.m. ceremony and bioengineering student Louis Curtis gave the student address.

Honorary degrees were bestowed on Doris and Ulysses “Junior” Bridgeman Jr. The Bridgemans are UofL graduates and each received a Doctor of Public Service (honoris causa) degree in recognition of their community service and support of the university.

Cindy Hess
Cindy Hess has more than 30 years of experience in communications, marketing and investor relations, including more than a decade at UofL. She is "sort of" retired but happy to come back to the Office of Communications and Marketing to help with special projects and assignments.