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May 23, 2023

SPH Spring 2023 Commencement Ceremony

4:00 PM
Taliah Hodges, Dean Boris Lushniak and Christopher Upperman at the 2023 UMD School of Public Health commencement ceremony
Taliah Hodges '23 (student speaker), Dean Boris Lushniak and Christopher Upperman (keynote speaker) at the SPH Commencement Ceremony at Xfinity Center.

Location: Xfinity Center

Congratulations to the more than 800 School of Public Health graduates! Graduates were recognized at a ceremony at the Xfinity Center on May 23, 2023. 


Student Commencement Speaker

Taliah Hodges
BS in Public Health Science '23 and MPH in Epidemiology '24

Black woman, with hair in a curly bun, in a dark business suit

Taliah Hodges’s passion for public health includes building community relationships and increasing access to resources in underserved populations. While in the Global Fellows in D.C. Program, she was inspired to gain experiences to enhance cultural competency skills. She participated in a study abroad program in India where she learned about health policies and programs in a global context and built meaningful connections. 

Taliah worked in the Department of Resident Life throughout her undergraduate career where she strived to foster a positive living community while supporting the academic, professional and social needs of her peers. As an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for the Global Public Health Scholars Program and SPHL100, Taliah mentored students and supported their success and confidence.

After graduation, Taliah will continue her current internship at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). In the fall, she will begin her final year of her Accelerated 4+1 Master of Public Health program while serving as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for a foundational public health course. 

Commencement Keynote Speaker

Christopher R. Upperman
Senior Manager & Head of Governance Partnerships Team at Meta Platforms, Inc.

Black man with short haircut in a black business suit

Mr. Christopher R. Upperman is Senior Manager and Head of the Governance Partnerships Team at Meta. In
his role, Upperman spearheaded Meta’s creation of the Community COVID Coalition during the COVID-19
pandemic—a $4.2M partnership with the Centers for Disease Control Foundation, National Governors
Association and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. He also led the partnership creation of Meta’s $2.75M support for the Center for Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health (CEEJH) in the School of Public Health to bolster environmental justice capacity at the university.

Upperman was a political appointee in the Obama-Biden Administration at the U.S. Small Business Administration and The White House. He recently served on the Biden-Harris Presidential Transition Team. Previously, he held roles as the CEO of Envolve Entrepreneurship and as an aide to D.C, Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton on Capitol Hill.
Upperman has served on numerous advisory boards including Board Observer of the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, National Black MBA Association and NextGen Chamber of Commerce. He has been featured in NY1,, Huffington Post, and several other outlets. Upperman holds a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Georgia State University