Fourteen months after Ball State’s campus shut down and all university-sponsored in-person events and activities were postponed, members of the classes of 2020 walked across a stage at commencement.
On May 15, the university held commencement ceremonies for 2020 graduates who chose to walk months after they received their degrees. Graduates from the College of Architecture and Planning, College of Sciences and Humanities and Teachers College had their ceremony at 8 a.m. Graduates from the Miller College of Business, College of Communication, Information and Media, College of Fine Arts and College of Health had their ceremony at noon.
The university hosted the ceremonies at Scheumann Stadium, just as it did on May 7 and 8 for 2021 graduates. Graduates sat socially distanced on the turf while their guests sat socially distanced in the bleachers.
Graduates received their diplomas in the mail prior to the ceremonies.
President Geoffrey Mearns and Provost and Vice President of Executive Affairs Susana Rivera-Mills both spoke at the ceremony.
“Graduates, you earned your degrees from our university during an extraordinary year," Mearns said, "a year unlike any other since our university was founded in 1918, in the midst of the last global pandemic."
Mearns praised 2020 graduates for their resilience during the pandemic, saying they were affected like no other class through the loss of post-graduation job opportunities, internships and fellowships.
"I think it is difficult for any of us to fully appreciate the extraordinary impact that this pandemic has had on all of you," he said. “I’m confident that the resilience you possess and the resilience that has increased within you because of this pandemic has changed us for the better.”
Mearns also thanked Ball State staff who prepared Scheumann Stadium for the ceremony and the guests who came to support the graduates.
Andrea Aung, applied behavior analysis graduate, received her degree in December 2020 and is still going to Ball State to get her master’s degree in applied behavior analysis.
“It’s weird,” Aung said. “I’m going to be graduating with my master’s again in a year, so I feel like [the ceremonies are] back-to-back and super close to each other.”
Aung said she was happy the university was able to make a commencement ceremony happen, especially after a difficult year.
Bailey Vukovits, elementary education graduate, finished her degree in the spring 2020 semester and said she was delighted to come back to Ball State from Rockville, Indiana — about two hours away from Muncie.
“It’s really exciting to come back and get the recognition I worked so hard for,” Vukovits said.
Vukovits also said it was nice to celebrate her graduation with her family and friends, something she wasn’t sure she was going to be able to do when she finished school last spring.
She said, “It was just really nice to come back and celebrate with the people I had classes with and with my family.”
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