In-Person Congratulations to WCU’s Class of 2020!
Walking across the stage and accepting your diploma in front of your loved ones and classmates is an unparalleled experience for every college graduate. And West Chester University leadership promised that this pandemic would not stop us from celebrating our Class of 2020 in person — even when that memorable celebration was held a year later due to state and local Covid-19 mitigation guidelines.
We fulfilled that promise for our Class of 2020, organizing 14 in-person, outdoor, socially distanced commencement ceremonies on four dates at Farrell Stadium.
We were elated to see nearly 1,400 Class of 2020 students (both graduate and undergraduate levels) return to campus to participate in their commencement ceremonies. Graduates even had an opportunity to remove their masks briefly on stage after they received their diploma covers and as they left the platform for their formal photographs. As always, each ceremony was live streamed and recorded.
Our commitment to our 2020 graduates meant developing safe, socially distanced, outdoor commencement ceremonies for smaller groups of graduates, approximately 200 per ceremony. Many people from across campus and across divisions came together to ensure we presented the same dignified commencement ceremonies — witnessed by their families and loved ones — that the Class of 2020 would have had last year had we not been under Covid restrictions.
Last year, we acknowledged the disappointment and frustration felt by the Class of 2020 and tried to make the lack of an in-person commencement less painful through many avenues including video messages from WCU President Christopher Fiorentino, VPs, deans, department chairs, and notes from alumni; customizable congratulatory signage; and encouraging messaging, filters, and more across social media. In fact, in a WCUofPA Instagram story, we asked participants to describe the Class of 2020 in one word. You showed your Ram Pride with your top three words:
This year, we are thrilled to have been able to honor you in person and celebrate your achieving this milestone with your loved ones I attendance.
Class of 2020: The faculty, staff, alumni, and administration of West Chester University are so proud of you! We honor your perseverance and determination to succeed in the face of unexpected adversity. We validate your difficulties in isolating and adapting to completely online, virtual instruction, and admire your tenacity in completing your courses. We share your sorrow for unforeseen losses. You have overcome a pandemic, maybe the most unusual adversary your generation has faced, making you stronger for having come through that fire. You are survivors, thrivers, achievers — and you are our future.
Stay golden, Rams!