Eastern Michigan University celebrated Spring 2021 graduates by sharing a commencement video, on Sunday, April 25.
The commencement video included speeches from President James Smith, Regent Eunice Jefferies, and deans from each college.
The opening processional featured Michael Burkhardt playing the organ and was followed by a performance of the National Anthem by Hannah Karel.
Jefferies delivered opening remarks to students on behalf of the Board of Regents, which grants degrees to students.
“We are so proud of our Eastern students and how they have succeeded despite all the changes and difficulties faced,” Jefferies said. “Well done.”
Smith followed Jefferies’ speech and congratulated the soon-to-be graduates. He acknowledged the challenges faced by students and faculty in the last year due to the pandemic.
“It is a time when you are being honored for a major accomplishment – earning an Eastern Michigan University degree that is nationally recognized for academic excellence,” Smith said. “And to have fought through the challenges you faced during the past year is truly a testament to your grit, determination, and unwavering persistence.”
Smith remarked on the academic and personal growth of students while they pursued degrees at EMU.
“You are stronger, smarter, and ready to face the next challenge. You have learned to think on your feet and express your beliefs. You have learned how to thrive on very little sleep, how to stretch a dollar, and how to meet deadlines...More importantly, you have learned who you are and what you are capable of,” Smith said.
The deans from each college addressed their students before the conferment of degrees. John Staunton, the associate Dean of The Honors College, congratulated the 110 students graduating from the program.
“We look forward to seeing you soar even higher as you make your mark in the world and become leaders in your respective fields,” Staunton said.
After the speeches, Smith conferred the degrees by announcing that students could move the tassel on their cap from the right to the left to symbolize the transition to graduates.
“If your journey takes you around the world, or just down the street, remember that your Eastern family will always welcome you back home,” Smith said.
The ceremony closed with a performance of the alma mater by Karel. About 1,500 students who applied to graduate before March 26 had their names listed at the end of the video.
According to Geoffrey Larcom, the Executive Director of Media Relations at EMU, the university is planning on hosting an in-person celebration at a later date.
“We are planning to hold in-person celebrations at a later date for all graduates from this year -- and last year -- who have not had an in-person recognition due to the pandemic,” Larcom said. “We are hopeful this will take place during this fall’s commencement, depending on public health considerations and guidelines.”
EMU encouraged all recent graduates to activate their alumni memberships to stay connected with more than 180,000 alumni worldwide.