The College of the Holy Cross conferred 707 bachelor of arts degrees as part of a virtual celebration on May 22, 2020. The event, aired live on the College’s website, included congratulatory messages from faculty, staff and alumni, reflections from the senior class, and a surprise message from Dr. Anthony Fauci ’62, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health and a member of the White House coronavirus task force.
“I am profoundly aware that graduating during this time and in this virtual way, unable to celebrate in person this important milestone in your lives, with your friends, classmates and teachers, is extremely difficult,” Fauci said. “I encourage you to stay strong and unflinching. The country and the world need your talent, your energy, your resolve and your character.”
A classics major with a premedical concentration at Holy Cross, Fauci has often credited his professional success to the Jesuit intellectual rigor that was a core part of his education at the College, which also instilled in him a lifelong commitment to social justice, more important than ever in these currently unsettling times.
“The College of the Holy Cross holds a very special place in my heart,” Fauci said. “The education that you and I have received at Holy Cross, steeped in Jesuit traditions, should suit us well to confront and ultimately overcome this historic pandemic.”
May 22 was the original date of the Class of 2020 commencement, which was postponed because of the ongoing pandemic. Based on feedback from Holy Cross seniors, the virtual celebration will be followed by an in-person commencement ceremony for the class of 2020 in spring 2021.
In addition to the message from Fauci, the virtual celebration included remarks from Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., president of the College; remarks and degree conferral by Margaret Freije, provost and dean of the College; a blessing by class chaplain Rev. Keith Maczkiewicz, S.J.; and a performance of the alma mater by Rose Grosskopf ’20.
“All of us at Holy Cross will forever think of you as the most resilient, creative and generous class, who sustained many challenges and triumphed,” said Fr. Boroughs in his remarks. “May the questions that your education and formation here have encouraged and inspired give you direction and passion for the work ahead. And may your faith in God and each other bring you blessing and hope in all that lies before you.”
The Celebration of the Class of 2020 was the culmination of a series of virtual events celebrating the graduating seniors. Earlier in the week, students participated in a panel hosted by the Office of Student Involvement, “Men & Women for Others: Reflections of the Class of 2020,” which featured graduating student leaders and staff members who shared reflections from their journeys at Holy Cross. Some students participated in “Share Your Magis: The Senior Exit Talks,” a short-speech competition featuring 3-minute speeches by seniors on an especially meaningful aspect of their Holy Cross experience. The Office of Multicultural Education hosted events such the ALANA Celebration, which recognizes African-American, Latin American, Asian American and Native American and International student seniors on their success at Holy Cross; a celebration for First-Generation College Graduates; and the College’s annual Lavender Graduation, a ceremony conducted on numerous campuses nationwide to honor lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and ally students, to acknowledge their achievements and contributions to the College. The Senior Art Major Digital Exhibition also ran through the week, and the morning of the virtual celebration, the College’s NROTC program celebrated the commissioning of its graduates as Ensigns and 2nd Lieutenants in the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps.
To view the video archive, as well as highlights of celebrations shared on social media, visit the Celebration of the Class of 2020 page on the Holy Cross website.
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