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Ohio University holds Class of 2020 commencement

Published: September 8, 2021 Author: Staff reports

Ohio University’s Class of 2020 finally got their day.

On Sunday, Sept. 5, 2021, around 800 of OHIO’s graduates of the Class of 2020 came back to the bricks of Athens for an in-person commencement ceremony. The celebratory event took place on the historic College Green, recently ranked second in the nation as the most beautiful campus quad.

“I’m really excited to be here and finally getting to go through commencement and super grateful that Ohio University is allowing graduates to come back,” Hannah Moskowitz, a 2020 graduate who majored in journalism and news information, said. “It’s been super fun to go to the football game, tour Uptown, and just seeing everything there is to do again in Athens.”

The Class of 2020 graduates were excited to finally walk across the stage, but also be able to experience OHIO and Athens for one more time.

“Coming back here today, I have been so excited, and I almost cried while I was on campus for the first time again. It’s been a year and a half, and I am so glad that I am able to actually graduate,” Emily Burns, a 2020 graduate and geology major, said. “I’m so grateful for this. OU was the best time of my life.”

“I think it’s awesome [OHIO] is having commencement even if it is a year and a half later. Obviously, it’s been delayed for a good reason,” said Samantha Lamka, a 2020 graduate who double majored in psychology and history with a Spanish minor, who is now at Ohio State University for law school. “Especially on Labor Day weekend, I got to see all of my old roommates and we all hung out and went to our favorite places. It’s nice to have a reason to get together and see everyone and have closure for something that was really important.”

OHIO graduate Natalie Holley sang the national anthem to start the ceremony.

“Remember, no matter where you are in the world, Ohio University will always be your home. You are Forever OHIO, and we are forever proud of you,” OHIO President Dr. Hugh Sherman said during his address to the graduates.

During the ceremony, honorary degrees were also presented to Francis Papay, M.D., who received his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from OHIO in 1975, and Richard A. Vincent, M.B.A.

OHIO alumnus Keith Hawkins, Ph.D., served as commencement speaker. He received his bachelor of science in astrophysics, with minors in mathematics and African studies, from OHIO in 2013. He currently is an assistant professor of astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin.

“Now, more than ever, our country needs an educated group of young folks to beat pandemics, to write the policy to ensure equality for all, to write the stories and uncover truths, to create breathtaking art across a wide variety of mediums, to transcribe the historical record of humanity, and to walk to the edge of the unknown and beyond it,” Hawkins said during his speech. “Keep on learning, keep on growing, and sharing your passions with the Bobcat community and beyond it.”

The event was livestreamed for those unable to attend and can be viewed on YouTube.

“I’m just glad to get to come back and experience the moment of graduation in-person, it was a really big important thing for me and my family,” said 2020 graduate Noah Ourant, who majored in accounting and business analytics.

Keep scrolling to view some of the special moments captured during the Class of 2020 Commencement Ceremony. Congratulations, Bobcats!

Click on the photos to view captions.

Graduating students are seated across College Green

The ceremony was held on the College Green, where the University previously held many of its Commencement Ceremonies before the Convocation Center was built.

A woman smiles as she dons her graduation cap

Friends prepare for Fall 2020 Commencement on College Green.

University faculty wear ceremonial robes and stand in front of Cutler Hall for the ceremony

Robin Muhammed, Chair of the Faculty Senate, holds the ceremonial mace that signals that official start of commencement in front of Cutler Hall.

Seniors decorate their graduation caps with various stickers and patches

A cap is decorated with the stickers from various uptown Athens businesses.

A female student applauds fellow graduates while wearing the graduation ceremonial robes

Elissa Mathews, an Ohio University fall of 2020 graduate, attends the graduation ceremony on College Green in Athens, Ohio, on Saturday, September 5, 2021. Photo by Joe Timmerman.

Commencement speaker, Keith Hawkins, stands at a podium to deliver an address

Keith Hawkins delivers the keynote commencement address for Fall 2020 ceremonies on College Green.

Honorary degree recipient, Francis Papay, delivers an address

Francis Papay, M.D. speakes at Fall 2020 Commencement after receiving an honorary degree.

An honorary degree recipient, Richard Vincent, is presented with a neck sash by President Sherman

Richard Vincent receives an honorary degree at Fall 2020 Commencement on College Green.

A student in graduation cap listens to the commencement speaker

A fall 2020 graduate listens to the keynote speaker, Keith Hawkins.

The faculty and administration arranged under the awning behind Memorial Auditorium

Cary Cooper, Chair of the Ohio University Board off Trustees, speaks at Fall 2020 Commencement on College Green.

A student receives a sash during the graduation ceremony

A College of Fine Arts students is hooded at Fall 2020 Commencement on College Green.

A group of female students cheer on their graduating classmates

Scripps College of Communications Students celebrate at Fall 2020 Commencement.

President Sherman at the podium during the 2020 rescheduled Commencement

Ohio University President Hugh Sherman speaks at Fall 2020 Commencement.

President Sherman shakes hands with a graduate in congratulations

Ohio University President Hugh Sherman congratulates graduates at Fall 2020 Commencement on College Green.

A female graduating student jumps for joy with arms spread

Jillian Mueller celebrates at Class of 2020 Commencement on College Green.

A graduating student smiles as he hugs his mother

Noah Pickering hugs his mother, Shari Pickering, he walked during the 2020 Commencement Ceremony on Sept. 5, 2021.

Students and their families pose for photos by the College Gate

Ohio University fall of 2020 graduates pose for pictures at the class gateway after their graduation ceremony on College Green in Athens, Ohio, on Saturday, September 5, 2021. Photo by Joe Timmerman.

Two students pose for a photo after the graduation ceremony

Ryan Wilson and Flannery Jewell pose after walking in the 2020 Commencement Ceremony on Sept. 5, 2021.

Mothers take pictures of graduating students across College Green after the ceremonies

Courtney Dudley poses for a photo for her family following Fall 2020 Commencement Ceremonies on College Green.

A graduating student poses for a photo in front of the Class Gateway while his mother kisses his cheek

Alex Alonge gets a kiss from his mother, Linda Minnehan, following Fall 2020 Commencement ceremonies on College Green.