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UK English Graduate Speaks at Commencement Ceremony

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 15, 2022) — University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto has selected two student representatives to speak at the UK December Commencement Ceremonies this Friday, Dec. 16, at Rupp Arena at Central Bank Center.

The two student speakers are Alyssa Hargis and Princess Valencia.

Princess Valencia, from Georgetown, Kentucky, is graduating with a degree in English from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, and a minor in economics. She transferred to UK last year from Western Kentucky University and received the William C. Parker Diversity Scholarship.

"I have been a UK fan my entire life, and it was such an honor to finish my degree at my dream school," she said. "There are not enough words to describe how much I love the University of Kentucky. I feel confident and prepared for the future because of the people here who have provided me with so much knowledge and advice. I also have built friendships that will last me a lifetime. I will carry the tradition of UK with me forever."

An infielder, Valenica is a member of the UK softball team. She also spends her time as an instructor and mentor to younger athletes. Prior to transferring, Valencia was named to the 2020 All-Academic Team for Conference USA for excelling in the classroom.

Valencia celebrates her accomplishment with her family, including her grandparents who migrated to the U.S. to give their children brighter futures. As a result of this, Valencia has already stood on the UK Commencement stage once before — with her mother, who graduated 20 years ago. 

“Nothing stood in their way to give their children the best lives’ possible,” she said. “So, thank you to my parents (and grandparents) who stopped at nothing to give me everything I needed to succeed.”