Meet Undergraduate Commencement Speaker Ian Zukor

Ian Zukor

History major Ian Zukor experienced hands-on learning in CLA that inspired both his capstone and his future plans. But before he begins his graduate school journey, Ian will have the unique honor of serving as the college’s Undergraduate Commencement student speaker on Sunday, May 12.

If you could go back and give your first-year self one piece of advice, what would it be?

I would tell myself that there is not one "correct" path to completing college and that's okay. I started college at the University of Vermont but ended up transferring to the U of M during my sophomore year. While it was a difficult decision, I could not be happier that I ended up in Minneapolis. It may not have been the traditional start to college, but I wouldn't want it any other way. In essence, even if things get off to a rocky start, if you advocate for yourself and surround yourself with the right people, everything will work out in the end. 

How would you describe your time in your major? 

I had an amazing time with the history department at the U of M! One of my favorite things about history is that it encompasses such a broad timeframe. For instance, I took a class that focused on art in the 1400s while at the same time taking a class that focused on policing in the 21st century. I also felt like I was able to get great hands-on experience in the department, which made my learning feel so much more relevant. My favorite example was when I took a class where we each took on a character from the French Revolution and we spent the semester acting as them debating as if we were really in the revolution. I liked the class so much that I ended up writing my capstone about the French Revolution!

What is your favorite college memory?  

I always love Homecoming! The excitement of being back at school paired with the parade, football game, and other festivities was really special. I had the chance to walk in the Homecoming parade this past year with some great people and seeing all the spirit and togetherness on campus was so memorable. It helped remind me that the U of M is not only a special place to its students but it is also a staple in our community. 

What's next for you? What are your post-graduation plans? 

I will be returning to the University of Minnesota to receive a graduate degree in social studies education. After completing the program I aspire to be a history teacher!

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