At 2 pm on Sunday, May 17 – the time when graduates, families, staff, faculty and honored guests had planned to join together in the Meyer Athletic Center for commencement – Concordia College’s digital Celebration of Graduates went live.
Graduates opened a web page of video content created to give them a celebratory experience to share with their families, at a time when a traditional commencement ceremony was not an option.
Faculty offered a warm message of congratulations. Stand-out graduate Dakiya Gray ‘20 gave a heartfelt, memory-filled address in her role as Student Representative. Celebration Speaker Elizabeth Lim-Dutton, a longtime friend and supporter of Concordia, eloquently addressed the topic of identity in this unprecedented time. President Nunes’s stirring and inspirational charge to the graduates was filmed at several iconic campus locations, and included an unforgettable shot from the rooftop of Feth Hall.
The Concordia Community Choir performed the Alma Mater, in a new arrangement by Conservatory faculty Matt Van Brink that included faculty instrumentalists, mixed choir sections and a solo by graduate Bethany Daenzer ‘20. The moving creative and technical achievement required choir members and instrumentalists to learn the new arrangement and perform their parts remotely. Other video content on the page included an interactive 360-degree view of campus at the peak of its spring beauty.
An emotional highlight was the reading of the graduates’ names. To the music of Pomp and Circumstance, Dr. Mandana Nakhai, Dean of the School of Humanities, read each graduate’s name as it scrolled down the video. The web page also included a downloadable program with a letter from President Nunes and the traditional listing of the graduates’ names.
On social media, the graduates shared glimpses into their afternoon of watching the videos and celebrating with their families. While the day could not hope to match the experience Concordia’s graduates deserved, the close connection of the Concordia community and College’s exceptional pride in these very special graduates was apparent.
The content remains available for the community to enjoy.