Due to the coronavirus pandemic the class of 2020 at two Maryland colleges didn’t get to walk onto a stage and collect their diploma.
They didn’t get to share a parting hug with their classmates, or throw their caps into the air all at once.
But on Friday, they did get a chance to celebrate their accomplishments in a virtual fashion, which included video tributes for them from some big names.
“This is certainly not the graduation day that any of you anticipated or hoped for but it in no way lessens your accomplishments or diminishes your achievements,” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a video played during the online commencement ceremony for the University of Maryland College Park.
The presentation also includes a video tribute to graduates from class of 1969 graduate journalist Connie Chung and her husband TV show host Maury Povich.
“You can achieve your dreams by just working hard,” Chung said.
“Don’t let anybody get you down. You’ve got it as long as you know up here that you’re going to make it.”
“We know you’re going to be successful, so we celebrate you class of 2020,” Povich said.
House Majority Leader, and class of 1963 graduate, Steny Hoyer was the keynote speaker for the ceremony.
“You must apply the fearlessness you acquired at Maryland to your future endeavors,” Hoyer said.
Presiding over his final graduation ceremony was retiring university President Wallace Loh.
“As you may know I’m a ‘graduate’ today, it has taken me 10 years to get to this point so it is a wistful moment for me as well, as I bid you farewell,” Loh said.
At Montgomery College in Montgomery County, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House coronavirus task force, told the graduating class in a video that he understands this is a difficult time.
“Please hang in there, we need your talent, your energy, your resolve and your character to get through this difficult time,” Fauci said.
Former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell urged the class of 2020 to take what they’ve learned and do their best in their future endeavors.
“You are our future; make good use of that future,” Powell said.
Montgomery College graduates also enjoyed a video tribute from actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Louis-Dreyfus said that while it “sucks” to graduate during a pandemic there is a bright side.
“You can set something you’ll be able to tell your grandkids about, and then your grandkids will go ‘Grandma you told us this a million times,’” Louis-Dreyfus said.
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