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School of Social Work Winter 2023 Commencement

December 17, 10:00 AM ET

Hill Auditorium
825 N University Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Event Details Directions to the Hill Auditorium

Accessibility Information

The School of Social Work Winter Commencement for Master of Social Work students will be held in-person and livestreamed on the SSW website. Hill Auditorium doors will open for guests and graduates can begin arriving at 9:00am.

A light reception will be held at the School of Social Work (1080 S. University Ave.) immediately following commencement.

Please email with any questions.

The SSW Commencement will be livestreamed on this page and on the front page of the U-M School of Social Work website.

Letter from the Dean

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations! We are thrilled to celebrate your hard work and dedication together with your friends, families and loved ones.

In pursuit of your MSW, you have gained the skills, knowledge and training to make a difference in the lives of others. You are effective, practiced facilitators and leaders who know how to take a stand, address injustice and engage the community. As you begin the next chapter of your lives, remember that education is a lifelong process. Keep in touch with your faculty and classmates and keep listening and learning from your clients and colleagues.

University of Michigan social work graduates have a reputation for their expertise, dedication and achievement. Today you join 17,000+ alumni who lead the field as policymakers, agency directors and foundation leaders, who improve lives as accomplished and effective social workers. We look forward to hearing how you apply your talents for the good of people and communities.

You have earned the term “the leaders and best.” On behalf of the Michigan Social Work community, I wish you every success as you reach out, raise hope and change society.

Go Blue,

Beth Angell
Dean and Professor of Social Work


Keynote Speaker Linh Song, MSW '04
Ann Arbor City Council Member, Ward 2

Jason Smith

Linh Song has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 20 years, supporting child advocacy, public schools, anti-trafficking within international adoption, and tech startups. Born and raised in the Midwest by Vietnamese refugee parents, she is her family's firstborn American and committed to addressing social, racial and economic inequities. She serves on Ann Arbor's City Council, as co-chair for Michigan Reproductive Rights for All and as a board member for Jewish Family Services Ann Arbor, Michigan Municipal League Foundation and the Skillman Foundation. Song holds a bachelor's degree in political science and a Master of Social Work from the University of Michigan.

Student Speaker Larisa Mednis

Larisa Mednis

Larisa Mednis (she/they) is a longtime community organizer and advocate for social justice. She holds a bachelor's degree in sociology and gender studies from the University of Pittsburgh and helped start the nonprofit Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid in response to the intense need among her community in the restaurant industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During her time earning her master's degree in social work, she has served as the Organizing Co-Chair of Payment for Placements, a student organization working to achieve paid internships for all MSW students. In her free time, Mednis enjoys cooking and baking, writing music, and foraging for wild edible mushrooms. Through her personal, educational and professional experiences, Mednis has deepened her understanding of community service and stewardship, and intends to use these skills in her future career as a social worker. Mednis would like to thank her friends and her family for inspiring and motivating her to always achieve her goals.

Student Speaker Sara Almuktar

Sara Almuktar

Sara Almuktar (she/her) is an MSW candidate in the Social Work Practice with Older Adults and Families from a Lifespan Perspective pathway. She has worked as a medical social worker and is also pursuing her School Social Work Specialization. Born and raised in Michigan, Almuktar comes from a large family of eight and is proudly the middle child.

Almuktar graduated from UM-Dearborn in December 2021 with a degree in Health and Human Services. She earned a 4.0 GPA, attended school on scholarship, worked multiple jobs and was awarded with the Dean's Medallion. Growing up in a diverse, close-knit philanthropy-heavy community inspired Almuktar to pursue social work and its impact on communities. Almuktar is thrilled to fulfill her goal of earning her MSW, where she was honored to be selected as a Geriatric Scholar.

Almuktar would like to thank God, her mama and baba as well as her family and friends for their support and encouragement; her professors, shoutout to Grace, Beth and Julie Ribaudo and classmates for sharing their wisdom and experiences!

Almuktar intends to pursue a career in social work working with individuals across the lifespan as well as families in her home community, Dearborn.

Commencement Program


Photos from the Ceremony

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