Celebrate our students’ academic achievements every December and May at the College of Fine Arts Graduation Convocations.
For more information on the UA Commencement, visit commencement.arizona.edu.
Thursday, December 19, 2019 at 7:00 pm
Invitations were emailed on November 18.
Questions, call 520-621-9430
Guest Speaker: Derek van der Merwe
Derek van der Merwe is in his second year at the University of Arizona as the Assistant Vice President- Chief Operating Officer for Athletics working on the day-to-day internal management of the department.
During his first year at Arizona, he worked on leading the department’s effort to create its first-ever comprehensive strategic plan. Key themes of this plan include aligning the athletics department strategic vision with that of the University, ensuring the department positively fulfills and supports the University’s mission, committing to student-athlete’s academic success, and enhancing the fan experience.
Derek has worked in higher education for more than 23 years. He came to Arizona from Austin Peay State University where he spent the previous five years. As Vice President of the University, he was responsible for fundraising, community relations, public relations, marketing, communications, alumni relations, and developing the University’s first comprehensive strategic plan. During this period, he helped to reorganize a Center for Excellence in Creative Arts, and was active in creating and supporting fundraising strategies for art initiatives.
Derek started at Austin Peay as the Director of Athletics for two years before being promoted to the vice president and serving on President Alisa White’s senior leadership team responsible for the overall management of the University. As Athletics Director, he oversaw the construction of the new football stadium and secured a $2.5 million naming rights agreement.
Derek came to Austin Peay from Central Michigan University, where he served as the Deputy Athletics Director/Chief Operating Officer.
A CMU offensive lineman from 1991-95, van der Merwe helped the Chippewas to the MAC title in 1994 and earned Academic All-MAC honors as a co-captain in 1995. He received both a bachelor’s and master’s degree from CMU.
Derek only played in five football games his senior year of high school. Prior to going out for football, Derek was violinist and actor who performed in plays and musicals and participated in symphony orchestras.
Van der Merwe was born and raised in South Africa in a missionary family.
There will be flowers available for purchase for convocation ceremonies. Grad Flowers will be selling at McKale, the Student Union, Centennial Hall, Crowder Hall, and Arizona Stadium.