Meet the spring 2023 CLAS commencement singers

Aurora Navarro Cancel and Lauren Kundel will open each ceremony with the National Anthem. Both studied in the UI School of Music.
Friday, May 5, 2023

Graduates in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will enjoy vocal performances from their peers with the singing of the National Anthem during two undergraduate commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 13, 2023, where more than 2,100 undergraduate students will graduate. 

Meet the morning singer: Aurora Navarro Cancel  

Aurora Navarro Cancel, of Ankeny, Iowa, will perform at the 9 a.m. ceremony, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in music therapy, a minor in French, and a certificate in creative writing.  

Aurora Navarro Cancel
Aurora Navarro Cancel

During her time at Iowa, Navarro Cancel has been active while on campus, driving for CAMBUS and participating in many student activities, including arts-centric groups like Dance Club and Hawkeye Marching Band, and religious-centric organizations like Cru and Ratio Christi. She says she has made some of her closest friends in those groups, strengthening her relationship with artistic and religious communities.  

She says studying at Iowa has provided her more assurance as a performer.  

“Thanks to the University of Iowa music faculty, I have come to know my voice better with a wide variety of repertoire and performing opportunities,” she says. “I now have more confidence that I can have success as a singer.” 

Navarro Cancel plans to pursue music therapy as a career and is considering graduate school in the future.  

Meet the afternoon singer: Lauren Kundel 

Lauren Kundel
Lauren Kundel

Lauren Kundel, of Muscatine, Iowa, will perform at the 1 p.m. ceremony, graduating with a Bachelor of Music degree in voice performance.  

While at Iowa, Kundel enjoyed performing with the university choir, student back chorus, and symphony orchestra. She’s also been an artist in residence at Wesley United Methodist Church in her hometown of Muscatine.  

She says she is especially grateful to the faculty who have supported her and for the great sense of community within the UI School of Music. Kundel says that encouragement was on full display when she switched from her major from double bass performance and music education to voice during the height of the pandemic.  

“I began taking secondary voice lessons with my professor, Dr. DesChamps. After a semester of that, I re-auditioned for the school of music and was accepted into the voice program,” she explains. “I was able to work ahead and complete the remaining voice requirements in just two and a half years.” 

Kundel will return to Iowa next year as a graduate student in the voice program. She hopes to be able to pursue a career in music that she enjoys upon completion of her graduate degree.  

For more information about University of Iowa commencement, visit  

The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers about 70 majors across the humanities; fine, performing and literary arts; natural and mathematical sciences; social and behavioral sciences; and communication disciplines. About 15,000 undergraduate and nearly 2,000 graduate students study each year in the college’s 37 departments, led by faculty at the forefront of teaching and research in their disciplines. The college teaches all Iowa undergraduates through the college's general education program, CLAS CORE. About 80 percent of all Iowa undergraduates begin their academic journey in CLAS. The college confers about 60 percent of the university's bachelor's degrees each academic year.