On Friday, the University graduated the largest and most diverse class in our 122-year history, capping an unprecedented semester in momentous fashion.
We conferred 1,905 degrees, an all-time high for a single semester. Women received 1,173 of those diplomas; that’s nearly 62 percent of the total graduating class and yet another record. Eighty-eight degrees were awarded to Hispanic graduates, the most ever.
The number of Asian and African American graduates surpassed previous semesters as well.
These totals make the Class of Spring 2020 extraordinarily special. But its members aren’t history makers alone. They are also prepared to define the future of our state – and of our world – as we navigate the changes and challenges produced by this dangerous pandemic.
Our nursing and allied health graduates will join thousands of other University alums at medical facilities across the region, offering care and compassion to patients and their families.
Our education graduates will help create new delivery methods and learning spaces, and their enthusiasm will inspire lifelong learners among our youngest minds.
Our business graduates will explain the parameters of this new economic landscape and will offer data and analysis to strengthen its recovery.
Our engineering graduates will design safer and sturdier personal protective equipment for frontline medical personnel – and will save lives in the process.
Our science grads will help us better understand how viruses develop and will devise ways to more effectively mitigate their transmission.
Our humanities graduates will document how COVID-19 has altered our society and our individual lives. People living a century from now will understand more fully – and draw lessons from – what we’ve all experienced.
Our recovery from this pandemic – economically, medically, socially, intellectually – will be driven by these bright minds. Before them lies an opportunity to put their ideas, ingenuity, and passion toward a cause greater than any one individual – the creation of a stronger world for themselves and for generations yet unborn.
They are up to this task. I am certain of it. And I know they will seize this moment to make a better tomorrow.
Congratulations to these graduates, and thank you to the faculty members and others whose guidance and motivation will continue to inspire this special class as they enter the next chapter of their lives.
Dr. Joseph Savoie