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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and following the physical distancing guidelines set in place by the CDC and public health officials, this year’s Commencement ceremony was held entirely online.
Proud Poet spirit beamed through the screens of viewers around the world as the 2020 Whittier graduates were honored. One by one, each student’s name was called while photos and individual dedications were displayed. Viewers were able to participate by “cheering on” their loved ones with comments and emojis on the College’s Facebook and YouTube channels. Graduates and audience members used an Instagram filter created by the College to wear a virtual graduation cap with a purple-and-gold-inspired theme.
During the ceremony, President Linda Oubré addressed the graduates, offering words of encouragement and support.
“Poets, I am so proud of all of you,” said Oubré. “You were thrown the biggest obstacle imaginable and yet you thrived. You embraced change. You learned to adapt and you engaged in new ways. You stepped up to the challenge with strength and maturity. Your education at Whittier College has prepared you to be resilient, purposeful, thoughtful, and to use your critical thinking skills to solve the world's problems. The last few months have certainly put all of these skills to the test, but you leave here even more prepared for the challenges and opportunities of a life that awaits you.”
Biology major and San Diego native Analis Hetter ’20 addressed the graduates as the selected student speaker.
“I challenge you to go back to a world where we enact on values we cherished and learned during our time at Whittier–values of accountability, responsibility, growth, and resilience,” said Hetter. “After all we are the class of 2020, the graduating class that persevered despite limitations, a class unlike any other who built up a strong comradery through times of instability. We made history together. We each stand as legacies of our ancestors with a duty and responsibility to make the world a better place for all, so take pride in your story and share the value with those who made it possible.”
View the 2020 Commencement Program here.
A full recording of the Commencement ceremony is available on the Whittier College YouTube channel.