Bilal Shaikh, from Louisville, Kentucky, is graduating with a bachelor's degree in political science from the UK College of Arts and Sciences, and a minor in biology. He is also a student in the Lewis Honors College.
Shaikh has spent the last academic year serving as vice president of the Student Government Association (SGA).
“As student body vice president, I have devoted so much of myself to this university advocating on behalf of its student body. So the opportunity to address those very students one last time means the world to me,” Shaikh said. “When I got the call from President Capilouto inviting me to be a speaker, I could not help but think of all the amazing people — faculty, staff and students — who helped me along the way; I look forward to thanking them for the wonderful four years I've had here.”
In addition to SGA, Shaikh works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Biology and is an Aramark employee on campus. He also served as a student representative on the University Senate Council.
He hopes his fellow graduates will reflect on what has been learned during this past, often difficult year.
“My speech is going to be one which highlights all the incredible accomplishments we've achieved. However, it will also consider how this experience can be used to benefit us in our future,” he said. “UK prides itself on community, and I would like to use my platform to re-emphasize the importance of being a community. After all, it was this value in action which got us through the most difficult circumstances.”
Shaikh’s speech will be presented at the 9 a.m. and noon ceremonies Saturday, May 15.