The St. Joseph’s College community came together virtually Saturday, Dec. 19, to formally confer the degrees of more than 1,100 SJC Long Island students from the Class of 2020.
“This is a special class that has had to overcome one of the most challenging and difficult periods in our nation’s history while continuing to work hard to complete their degrees,” St. Joseph’s College President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D., said in an email to the College community. “They deserve to be applauded for their triumphs.”
Although the COVID-19 pandemic forced St. Joseph’s to cancel its commencement ceremonies in May, the College community was eager to make sure the Class of 2020 got the acknowledgement it deserved before the year’s end. SJC Long Island recognized 813 undergraduates and 333 graduate students.
“While we wanted nothing more than to hold traditional ceremonies for this very special class, the ongoing threat of the pandemic has prevented us from being able to safely do so thus far,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “As such, we have decided that this class has waited long enough to be recognized for their wonderful accomplishments and achievements.”
Here’s the full video …
Celebrating Their Fellow Alumni’s Achievements
Rachel Sullivan, the undergraduate speaker, congratulated her classmates for all of their accomplishments, patience and resilience.
“As our time as undergraduates officially comes to a close, we carry far more than a college degree,” said Rachel Sullivan, who earned a bachelor’s degree, double-majoring in religious studies and philosophy and psychology with a specialty track in industrial-organizational psychology. “We bring with us potential, dreams, and an intense desire to make our planet a better place.”
The event’s graduate speaker, Joyce Sullivan, called to action her fellow alumni from the Class of 2020, encouraging them to help make the world a better place.
“St. Joseph’s has not only given us a stellar education but in those studies, a deep sense of the goal of social responsibility,” Joyce Sullivan, “which is the belief that individuals and organizations have a responsibility to act in the best interests of society and the environment around them.”
“It is being accountable, thoughtful, and sensitive toward others, and to be aware of diversity and inclusion, and other issues in our communities and our environment,” added Joyce Sullivan, who earned a master’s degree in human services leadership.
Applauding Their Perseverance
Eileen White Jahn, Ph.D., executive dean of SJC Long Island, acknowledged not only the students, but their families and friends too, for supporting them throughout their years at St. Joseph’s
“Your skillful mastery of learning new pathways in fostering academic engagement speaks to your character, intellect and resilience,” Dr. Jahn said. “The College community applauds your tenacity and commitment, and recognizes your families and friends for providing the support, unconditional love and mentoring during such a difficult time.”
Dr. Boomgaarden shared with the graduates five tips for success that he says have helped him throughout his life:
- Time is your friend, not your enemy.
- Don’t compare yourself with others; be who you are.
- Your best is good enough. You don’t have to be the best.
- There is no time like now, so take action.
- Ask for help.
“Keeping these five things in mind and using all that you’ve learned at St. Joseph’s should allow you to have a wonderful and fulfilling life,” Dr. Boomgaarden said. “Many of you are starting or are about to start careers. I know this is a time of great uncertainty, but I’m very confident that you will do well, just as thousands of St. Joseph’s College graduates have done well for over 100 years.”
Along with this virtual event, any member of SJC’s 2020 graduating class is welcome to participate in the College’s traditional graduation events for the coming three years.
Saying Thanks to the Friends and Family that Supported Them
The Class of 2020 had the chance to share a quote and a photo to be shown while their name was called. Many students chose to thank the friends and family who supported them throughout their journey at St. Joseph’s, while others shared how their time at the College is helping them reach their career goals.
To watch the full video, look at the Class of 2020 social media wall or find a slide for a specific student, click here.