School of Public Health Commencement
Registration is now open. Click the links below to learn more about graduation requirements.
Damōn Chaplin currently serves as the Commissioner of the Minneapolis Health Department, where he oversees a multi-discipline staff managing multiple public health divisions responsible for enforcing federal, state, and local ordinances and codes. The department serves approximately 425,000 residents living in private and public housing units, as well as those patronizing local businesses and restaurants.
With more than 25 years of experience in public health, Commissioner Chaplin previously served as Health Director for the City of New Bedford, Massachusetts. During his tenure, he played several key roles in advancing the city’s public health initiative:
- Co-chaired the Greater New Bedford Opioid Task Force.
- One of 10 Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA) designees to serve on the Opioid Recovery and Remediation Fund (ORRF) Advisory Council to the Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services.
- Joined the Massachusetts Health Equity Compact (HEC), which brought together over 30 Black and Latinx leaders to advocate for health equity and healthcare reform.
- Spearheaded the program operations for the Massachusetts Large Cities Health Coalition, consisting of the state’s 14 largest cities (populations of 70,000 or greater).
The Commissioner also serves as an Executive Committee member for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) and was recently nominated by his peers to serve as Vice President.
He holds a master’s in business administration (MBA) from Curry College in Milton Massachusetts and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Central State University (CSU) in Wilberforce Ohio. He’s also a former collegiate athlete who enjoys walking, weightlifting, and dancing. He’s the proud father of four beautiful children in the Greater Boston Region.
Commissioner Chaplin is passionate about public health, seeking leadership opportunities to share his public health story and connect people to resources and opportunities, ensuring everyone has an equal opportunity to their full measure of life.
Student Speaker Nomination
We want you, a member of the Class of 2024, to nominate either yourself or a peer to serve as the voice of graduating students during the May 13th SPH Commencement Ceremony. Each year students have an opportunity to nominate a speaker who will represent the hopes, aspirations, and accomplishments of our amazing student body. Nominate yourself or a peer by February 26!
Join the Student Speaker Selection Committee
Please complete this form if you are interested in participating in the selection process for the SPH Commencement Student Speaker process. The commitment includes 1-2 hours (depending on number of nominations) reviewing and scoring nomination applications at the end of March. Only graduating students who do not want to be nominated for the speaking role are eligible to apply to the review committee.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between graduation and commencement?
Graduation is the completion of all degree requirements as recorded on your official transcript from the University. Commencement is the ceremony that celebrates this accomplishment. Commencement is not required for graduation and participating in the event does not imply that you have officially graduated.
Learn more about graduation requirements.
How do I order my cap and gown?
Commencement regalia for master’s or doctoral students can be purchased through the University of Minnesota Bookstores either in-person or online.
Hood and tassel colors:
- MPH and MHA students should order a salmon (pink) hood.
- MS students should order a yellow hood.
- PhD students should order a dark blue hood.
- MS, MHA, and PhD students should order a black tassel.
- MPH students should order a salmon (pink) tassel.
- Stoles are optional additions to graduation regalia used to symbolize achievement, school pride, membership, greek affiliations, clubs, military service, and more.
- Cords are optional additions to graduation regalia typically awarded to members of honor societies or for various academic and non-academic achievements.
Do I need to purchase tickets for my family to attend the commencement ceremony?
No. This event is free and open to the public. Guest seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis.
If my family cannot attend the ceremony, can they watch it online afterwards?
Yes, the ceremony will be livestreamed online and recorded.
The recording will be posted to the SPH Commencement webpage shortly after the event takes place.
How do I nominate the student speaker?
To nominate yourself, a peer, or a student in one of your courses, please complete the SPH Commencement Student Speaker Nomination Submission Form.
How do I join the student speaker selection committee?
To join the committee, please complete the SPH Commencement Student Speaker Selection Committee Form.
Only graduating students who do not want to be nominated for the speaking role are eligible to apply to this committee.
Will there be additional receptions for graduates in my academic program?
SPH programs have the options for hosting their own receptions. Information will be made available as those plans are confirmed.