Fiat Outside of Ordinary

Commencement is one of the most important and inspiring events on our campus. It generates excitement for what our graduates have accomplished as well as for the journeys on which are embarking. We were to have hosted our annual Commencement this past Saturday, honoring members of our Class of 2020, but COVID-19 forced the postponement of our on-campus ceremony until December 19.

The move to an online mode of instruction in March and the delay of our traditional Commencement celebration did nothing to lessen the accomplishments of our graduating students. Rather, the experiences of the last several weeks have shone a spotlight on their resilience, resoluteness, and resourcefulness—characteristics which will stand them in good stead over the years to come.

On Saturday, we were able to recognize our Class of 2020 with a virtual celebration, to mark the occasion of students receiving their degrees. For those unable to join us synchronously, please feel free to asynchronously view the ceremony through this Youtube link.

The tone of Saturday’s celebration was not one of somberness or disappointment, but rather of excitement and optimism. The online program honoring our graduates included a number of speakers, including our Class of 2020 Commencement speaker Peter Cuneo, ’67, ’13 H, a member of our Board of Trustees and Board chair emeritus, who talked about Alfred University’s history of preparing its students to be “warrior-leaders,” committed to overcoming challenges as they strive toward their goals. Marlin Miller Outstanding Senior Award recipients Amber Smith and Anastasia Campbell acknowledged their classmates’ ability to overcome challenges.

“Graduation is no small milestone, especially with what we’ve had to endure during our final semester,” Amber commented. “We are truly a unique group of seniors—robust in overcoming hardships and the ultimate survivors of change.”

Anastasia added, “Thank you for being here. Thank you for rising above the adversity when the world around you seemed to be crumbling. I’m proud of every one of you, and honored to speak here today as we have weathered this storm together.”

Our University can take great pride in our students, staff, and faculty and how well they have risen to the COVID-19 challenge over the last two months. We look forward to seeing our Class of 2020 and their families and friends back on campus for Commencement in December. We also are planning to welcome our Class of 2020 to campus for Reunion next June. While we have never before recognized a +1 Class at Reunion (typically, the focus is on 10th, 25th, 50th, and so on Classes), we intend to be Outside of Ordinary when it comes to celebrating our extraordinary Class of 2020.

Fiat Outside of Ordinary!

P.S. While Saturday was a pretty special day due to the Virtual Celebration for our Class of 2020, yesterday was not bad either given the news of Moderna’s progress toward developing a COVID-19 vaccine; the State of New York certifying our Western New York region as having met all seven of the relevant criteria to be able to move to, as of today, Phase 1 of reopening; and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, the lead State champion for our Western New York region telling presidents of colleges/universities in the area on a Zoom call that “If she were in our shoes, she would be planning to reopen this fall pending development of appropriate safety protocols and practices.”