The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s spring graduating class heard from two inspiring student speakers, Mart Joshua Lopez and Annie Nguyen, who shared their stories at the 108th Annual Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at the Stan Sheriff Center. An estimated 2,200 students participated in the ceremonies.

Mart Joshua Lopez

Mart Joshua Lopez was the morning ceremony speaker and earned his bachelor of arts in communications. Lopez talked about learning the hard truth during his college years that our journeys in life were never meant to be linear, but full of trials and tribulations, victories and excitement.

“It’s important to embrace all the setbacks and celebrate all the wins and to share that story to inspire others,” said Lopez. “I ask you all to speak up and to share your story because it has played a crucial role to who you are as a person here today.”

Annie Nguyen

Annie Nguyen, the afternoon ceremony speaker, graduated with a bachelor of business administration in marketing, human resource management and international business from the Shidler College of Business, and a certificate in French language. Nguyen said that UH Mānoa instilled in her the value of kuleana, inspired her to find purpose and challenged her to give back.

“We’ve been placed at this school and given so much by our Hawaiʻi ʻohana so now it is our kuleana, our responsibility, to dream big, live boldly and make positive impacts in this world,” she said.