Eastern Michigan University celebrated summer and fall 2021 graduates on Dec. 19, with the university’s first in-person commencement ceremony since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
EMU hosted two commencement ceremonies, including a morning ceremony honoring College of Business, GameAbove College of Engineering & Technology, and College of Health and Human Services graduates. The afternoon ceremony honored the College of Arts & Sciences and College of Education graduates. Over 2,100 students were eligible to graduate this semester.
The opening processional was led by Rhonda Longworth, executive vice president of academic affairs, followed by the singing of the national anthem by Zoe Zacharski.
The winter 2021 commencement ceremonies began with remarks from EMU Regent Eunice Jefferies on behalf of the Board of Regents of Michigan.
“I encourage you to show your Eagle confidence and Eagle pride as you move forward onto your next chapter,” Jefferies said.
EMU President James Smith was introduced by Jefferies and presided over the ceremonies.
“Your faculty, your staff, and I are extremely proud of you,” Smith said. “During the past year and a half, you've made unexpected, unanticipated, and unbelievable adjustments in your academic and work life. All of us at Eastern appalled your flexibility and your determination, as you forged forward to make this day a reality.”
Smith applauded the graduates' determination during these challenging times.
Raffaele Mautone, CEO of AaDya security and an EMU alumni, was introduced by Smith as the commencement speaker.
“It's OK if you fail or succeed, but learn from it and keep moving forward,” Mautone said. “Being an EMU alumni will open doors for you. Dream really, really big”
The graduates walked to the stage and received their diplomas. Smith then concluded the ceremony with the flipping of the tassels and some final words.
“Congratulations graduates, we are exceptionally proud of you, we are proud of your accomplishments,” Smith said. “We know you are leaving us, but believe me, you will be hearing from us often.”
Zacharski returned to sing EMU's alma mater, and Longworth once again led the graduates into their recessional.
The university is planning to host an in-person ceremony in 2022 for graduates who did not have an in-person ceremony due to the pandemic.