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Skidmore College

College community celebrates graduates in inspiring ways

May 22, 2020
by James Helicke

Words of wisdom from beloved Skidmore professors. Toasts to graduates. Video tributes, slideshows and poetry readings.

The Skidmore community has found myriad, creative ways to recognize the achievements of the Class of 2020, whose plans for traditional festivities were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic this spring.

In addition to a virtual Commencement ceremony scheduled for May 30 and plans for a future, in-person celebration, Skidmore’s academic departments and programs are putting a new spin on their traditional sendoffs.

Classics Department faculty celebrated the Class of 2020.

Classics Department faculty celebrated the Class of 2020.

“We gather to honor you, our Classics Department graduating seniors and members of the Class of 2020,” Lecturer Leslie Mechem said in an online departmental toast to graduates.

The College sent out Celebration Boxes to each graduate with gifts, a letter from President Philip A. Glotzbach and any honor cords, stoles, Periclean Honors Forum medals, academic prizes or other awards that traditionally would be conferred during Commencement celebrations.

A celebration box

The College sent out Celebration Boxes to each graduate.

Many faculty members reminisced during online gatherings about key moments in their academic programs and how much faculty, staff and students looked forward to reconnecting in person.

Members of the Department of Political Science each sent a video message to graduates. Natalie Taylor, associate professor and chair, filmed hers from Ladd Hall 307, where many students took their first political science course.

“It has been my honor and my privilege to teach you and share your time at Skidmore. I join with my colleagues in wishing the Class of 2020 great health and happiness in the coming years,” Taylor said. “And, of course, you haven’t been in Ladd 307 for the last time. We’ll welcome you back any day, and we’re saving your seat.”

Faculty in the Management and Business Department showed slides featuring students’ experiences in MB 107, the department’s cornerstone course, and other experiences in the program.

"Holding this event is a perfect example of the ways in which the Skidmore Management and Business Department goes above and beyond for students," said Ted Roach ’20. "I'm so glad that I decided to pursue the business major at Skidmore for many reasons. For one, I got to meet many of you students, faculty and staff."

In the Education Studies Department, seniors shared their student-teaching experiences and words of wisdom with juniors. The juniors then read a poem they wrote for the seniors. One stanza read:

We hope you are proud of all that you have done,

And continue to spread kindness, joy and fun.

We hope you know that Skidmore will always be your home,

And that you will be with us no matter how far you roam.

The Office of Off-Campus Study and Exchanges compiled a video highlighting seniors’ many off-campus adventures.

Professors in the History Department wished the graduates well and reminded them that they were living through an important historic moment.

“I feel hopeful and optimistic that the skills and the knowledge, the friends and the faculty relationships that you have acquired and developed at Skidmore will help you to navigate through this difficult situation that we’re all facing,” said History Professor Matthew Hockenos. “I also want you to know that we — Skidmore, the (History) Department, myself in particular — are very proud of the collective accomplishments you have all achieved over the past four years.”

During their virtual senior celebration, faculty members in the Neuroscience Program donned academic regalia and highlighted and applauded each graduate.

Skidmore's Neuroscience Program celebration

Neuroscience Program faculty gathered with students and families to celebrate igraduates.

The Music Department presented a collection of performances by seniors that also featured well wishes from celebrity musicians, such as jazz pianist and composer Taylor Eigsti.

“You’re all a bunch of talented and creative people and the world needs that more than ever,” he told the students.

The Music Department celebration concluded with a moving rendition of Skidmore’s alma mater sung by Emma Berkowitz ’20 and Lindsay Walsh ’20.

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