With the pandemic still a worrisome factor in daily life, Neumann took a creative approach to host in-person graduations, scheduling three for the Class of 2021 on Saturday, May 15, and another three for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, May 16.
Students graduated in groups of approximately 100, each permitted to have only two guests at the event. The six commencement exercises were held outdoors, under a tent on the front lawn of the Mirenda Center. Guests were seated in pods to observe social distancing guidelines.
Daniel Mulhall, Ireland’s ambassador to the United States, spoke at the 1 p.m. ceremony on Saturday. He and his wife Greta received honorary degrees from the university.
“The world that you are entering may be a less dangerous one, without the threat of nuclear conflict between East and West, than the world of 1980 when I entered the foreign service,” said Ambassador Mulhall, “but you will be living in a far more complex world with complex challenges: the changing environment, pandemics, cyber attacks.”
He advised the graduates not to be complacent. “With dedication, determination, and a continued commitment to learning, the sky is the limit.”
In her commencement address, Valedictorian Amanda DeCarolis reminded her classmates of the obstacles that they had overcome: “This year [of COVID] taught us through its challenges that while not every day is a good day, there is good in every day. We learned new ways to communicate, learn online, and work, all while striving to gain real-world work experience in an everchanging and challenging job market.”
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