/ Modified may 12, 2012 5:58 p.m.

UA Confers 4,200 Degrees Saturday

Proud parents, beaming grads crowd McKale Center one last time

A sea of Arizona blue caps and gowns flowed through McKale Center on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson Saturday morning, bearing members of the Class of 2012.

The university conferred degrees on 4,209 graduating seniors as their parents, families and friends looked on with pride.

The morning ceremony drew a full house to the McKale Center, as UA President Eugene Sander led the ceremonies for the first and last time in his role as interim president. Several members of the Arizona Board of Regents, which governs the university system, also attended.

Among the five honorary degrees awarded by the UA was one to alumnus Brian Schmidt, who won the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. Schmidt is a professor at the Australian National University.

Schmidt and Peter Rhee, a physician and surgeon who heads the University Medical Center's trauma unit, addressed the graduates.

Commencement for UA graduate students was held Friday evening at McKale, with masters degrees going to 882 and doctoral degrees to 298.

Individual colleges and programs on campus held ceremonies at various times and locations during the past week.

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