Commencement. Easily a top-five day in any Endicott College graduate’s memory bank from their time as undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral candidates. The sights and sounds from this event are unmatched. The Campbell Highlanders’ bagpipes, whistles and cheers from a sea of family and friends, flags from around the globe signifying our vast international student representation flapping in the breeze, and the first touch on the leatherette exterior of the diploma cover.
Tip of the Cap to the Class of 2020
Endicott College graduates show resilience through adversity.
Then 2020 happened.
Instead of caps and gowns, there were soft pants and slippers. Instead of the slow walk across the commencement stage, there were shuffles to the refrigerator for a mid-morning snack. And instead of picturesque moments by the Endicott Lakes, there were quick snapshots by the fireplace.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic turned the Spring 2020 semester on its head for the Endicott community. It forced faculty, staff, and students to vacate one of higher education’s most stunning campuses and one that prides itself on community and being together. Hands-on, interactive classrooms where face-to-face faculty engagement thrived were transported to Zoom for the remainder of the year. Winter and spring student-athletes saw their seasons come to abrupt end, halting any chance for those unforgettable trophy hoisting moments. Student life events like Relay for Life—an annual breast cancer awareness and community service opportunity that traditionally raises thousands of dollars to improve cancer survival, decrease cancer diagnosis, and enhance the quality of life for patients and caretakers—moved to a virtual setting, and still raised over $27,000.
Yes, coronavirus handed the Class of 2020 its most challenging test to date. And they passed with flying colors, finishing up their coursework and internships remotely and in the comfort of their own homes.
Internally, college-wide and throughout academic schools and departments across campus, Endicott did its best to tip its cap to this unique class that fought for the degree and resume promised to them. Through a graduate package that included a “Welcome to the Alumni Community” postcard; a personalized congratulations poster; a celebration coloring sheet and pencils; tech tattoos; shareable social media graphics; email communications from the president, faculty, and staff; and a virtual degree conferral; the Class of 2020 was truly honored. But still, it’s not enough.
What’s left is a commitment. A commitment made by President Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D., that when state and local officials deem it safe for groups to convene for a large-scale event, like Commencement, it will happen on campus and in person. In a video message to the Class of 2020 back in May, DiSalvo said, “I know this has been tough. We wish we could be with you today, but we will celebrate at the proper time. Today is about celebrating all that is good about you, and about your love of Endicott College. Celebrate this time together with family, with your close friends, and get ready for a bigger celebration in the future.”
Currently, Commencement for the Class of 2020 is scheduled for May 2021, and the College is dedicated to bringing all graduates and loved ones back to celebrate. It’s what this class deserves.