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The College Celebrates 2020 and 2021 Graduates.
Members of the College of Health and Human Services’ Class of 2020 and 2021 were honored during an in-person mini-celebration on Thursday, May 13. The in-person celebration gave 212 2020 and 2021 graduates an opportunity to be recognized for completing their degrees and walk across the stage. 2020 graduates were invited to return as they were not able to celebrate in-person last year due to statewide restrictions on large events due to COVID-19.
The College had a total of 790 (455 undergraduate and 335 graduate) spring 2021 graduates who received their degrees across 21 degree programs
Kim Holmes, associate dean for academic affairs, hosted the in-person celebration and welcomed the graduates and their loved ones during opening remarks, followed by comments from Dean Germaine Louis, student speaker Caprecia Miller, and alumni speaker Kevin Cevasco.
In addition, Bridgett Nesfield, a graduating Music Performance major at Mason, and John Kim, a 2016 Mason alumnus with a Bachelor of Arts, performed the National Anthem and Mason’s Alma Mater during the celebration.
“The class of 2020 was invited to participate in this semester’s in-person events; therefore, today we will be recognizing both our 2020 and 2021 graduates,” Holmes said to the graduating classes. “We are proud of your accomplishments, and we applaud your resilience through the unexpected changes and challenges of the past year.”
Dean Germaine Louis spoke on the graduates’ resiliency as they completed their degrees, despite the changes brought on by COVID-19. “At Mason, we work very hard to ensure our graduates are career-ready,” said Louis.
“And I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that you accomplished all this while navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and all the other aspects of your life. Your ability to successfully meet academic demands in the context of forces beyond your control is witness to all you can do in the future, and it is a part of your living legacy of what is possible,” Louis added.
After thanking the graduates, their loved ones, and the College’s faculty and staff for another successful year of preparing career-ready graduates, Louis spoke of her wishes for the future leaders in public health. “I remain hopeful that we will rebuild our communities and work in support of health for all people,” said Louis. “I ask our graduates to work in support of a world with health, not disparities; with safety, not violence; and with prosperity, not poverty. Continue to make Mason proud.”
This year’s student speaker, Caprecia Miller (MSW ’21), echoed Dean Louis’ speech when saying, “You have shown unprecedented resilience, dedication, and strength during a defining pandemic, and quickly adjusted to online learning. And if the pandemic taught us anything, it taught us to be grateful for what we have.”
Miller went on to thank the professors who helped prepare graduates for their professional careers as well as graduates’ families and friends, who encouraged and supported them along the way.
“May you have a bright and prosperous future,” Miller said to the graduating classes. “I wish each of you success as you pursue your dreams.”
Two-time Mason alumnus, Kevin Cevasco, offered the graduating classes insight on the value a Mason degree brings by sharing experiences throughout his career. “I worked for 30 years between my Mason bachelor’s degree and MPH and am confident that what you learned here at Mason is valuable,” Cevasco said. “While your time as a student may be over, your relationship with Mason is just beginning.”
Cevasco concluded his speech by reminding the graduating classes on the importance of being in the Mason community and encouraged all to stay connected with one another as well as their professors and mentors.
2021 graduates are also invited to attend the Virtual Degree Celebration on May 14 at 2 pm, which will be live-streamed on the CHHS YouTube channel. Additional ways to celebrate the graduates can be found here.