Campus Life Editor
After the pandemic put a hold on the lives of students, the Class of 2020 finally had their graduation alongside the Class of 2021. On Friday, Sept. 24, 2021, Whittier College honored the class of 2020 and 2021 with a traditional Commencement Ceremony at Memorial Stadium. Any graduate from 2020 and 2021 was able to attend and participate in the long awaited event.
The ceremony began with a welcome from the president, Linda Oubré, and the Board of Trustees. After the recognition of the faculty, there were two student speakers. Noah Humphrey was the speaker for the Class of 2020 and Bianca Alessandra Zermeno was the selected speaker for the Class of 2021. After the awarding of degrees, the ceremony concluded with a charge to the graduating classes. Noah Humphrey, a current graduate student at Yale Divinity School, read from his poem “Picket Fence” from his memoir Morgan Boy as a tribute to his home in South Central L.A. Zermeno is a graduate student at California State University Long Beach. In her speech, she referenced the Light of Learning ceremony and posed the question, “what are you going to do with your fire?”
Following the year since we have been off campus, the Class of 2020 graduates were able to return to campus, at last, to walk across the stage after their last semester was cut short.
When asked how it felt to have their ceremony over a year later, Bella Mejos, a class of 2020 graduate, said, “I was super excited to finally have a graduation—not necessarily for the ceremony itself, but for seeing all my friends that I said goodbye to thinking that only meant a week or two, but that turned into a year and a half.” There was some disappointment in having a joint ceremony. Mejos mentioned that, “At this point, I had been so far removed from Whittier College itself that I didn’t care about how it all went. I was just happy that anything was being done and that I was going to be reunited with my best friends. I will, however, say I do wish there was a bit more effort in making it closer to a normal graduation.” The Class of 2020 had a virtual ceremony, while the Class of 2021 was able to have a small ceremony back in May. The in-person graduation ceremony was limited to two people per graduate, while this event had no attendance limit for guests.
Unfortunately, the commencement ceremony was not publicized enough to recent graduates, as well as students on campus. Most participants heard about the ceremony from word-of-mouth, and it was unclear what the attendance policies were from the school.
The event was not live streamed, but can be re-watched on Whittier College’s YouTube channel.
Featured Image: Courtesy of the Office of Communications and Marketing