Graduates of the Class of 2020 address their classmates during the 2020 United broadcast.
Graduates of the Class of 2020 gathered virtually from across the country and around the world on May 22 to celebrate their academic convocation and recognize their class’s honorary degree recipients. The event, which marked one year since their mid-pandemic graduation, was a welcome opportunity for connection, reflection and hope for the future.
“Today’s event is not only an important institutional moment for Holy Cross, but this is one more experience, even if virtual, for our class to share together,” said Sara Dilbarian ’20, senior commencement chair. “This is a unique moment for us to reminisce, to acknowledge all that we’ve been through together, to consider all that we’ve accomplished in this past year since departing the Hill and to look forward to where we’re currently headed.”
Virtual academic convocation was just one of several events to celebrate the Class of 2020. In addition to the virtual celebration of the class held last May, a commencement celebration is being planned for the Class of 2020 as an on-campus event in 2022.
Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, SJ, president of the College, introduced the two honorary degree recipients: Rev. David Beckmann and Sister Donna Markham. Rev. Beckmann is president emeritus of Bread for the World, a non-partisan Christian advocacy organization that advocates for policy changes to end hunger, where he led broad and successful campaigns for legislation to reduce hunger in the United States and around the world. Sister Markham is the president of Catholic Charities USA—the first female president in the organization’s 110-year history. Both received Doctor of Public Service degrees.
Rev. Beckmann’s address discussed the progress he has seen in the decreasing rate of hunger worldwide, and he urged graduates to make a difference in the world at a local and governmental level.
“As we get older, it becomes more and more difficult to strike out in bold directions, and we need you to strike out in bold directions,” he said. “We really need you to carve out part of your life, part of your energy, to be an active citizen, and we need you to think boldly, think big, on behalf of the world.”
Sister Donna Markham, whose father was an alumnus of Holy Cross, spoke about our ability to create a more peaceful world, and the importance of respectful dialogue to communicate with those different from ourselves.
“The fundamental entry point for establishing a more hospitable world is the capacity to engage in dialogue. This is the vaccine against violence of all kinds; it’s the foundation for community building and the means through which we approach common good. It’s the core of relationship building. We connect with others through dialogue, and through dialogue, we extend hospitality and inclusion.”
Kerry Shortell ’20 delivered her valedictory address, acknowledging the resiliency of the class as they graduated into an uncertain world. “We have been marked as part of Holy Cross’ legacy of enduring hope,” she said. “This experience has made us stronger, braver, more prepared to do the courageous work of going forth and setting the world on fire.”
Watch the event here.
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