On Sept. 12, President Greg Cant and Interim Provost Terese M. Wignot carried out the first online degree conferral ceremony from inside the lobby of Weckesser Hall. The ceremony was streamed live at 1 p.m., and a recording is available for viewing on the Wilkes University website.
The original plan was to have the ceremony in the McHale Athletic Center, but the conferral was held virtually instead due to the restrictions placed on the campus from COVID-19. Cant stressed that the ceremony should not lose any grandeur because of these changes.
“The fact that we are not able to celebrate on campus does not reduce the significance of the day or diminish what it is that you have accomplished,” Cant said.
In addition to the online conferral, Wilkes will host the 74th Annual Spring Commencement honoring the graduates from January 2021 and May 2021. On that day, the commencement march will be carried out from the Marts Center to UCOM and will be accompanied by a bagpipe and drum band. On May 23, the University will celebrate the graduates from May 2020 and September 2020. On each day, the graduate student ceremony will be held at 10 a.m. and the bachelor’s degree ceremony at 3 p.m.
Cant spoke directly to the graduates, “Of all the classes that have graduated from Wilkes, you, along with the class of 2020 that graduated in May, will be remembered for the experience you had unlike any other in the history of Wilkes. You adapted, preserved, accepted loss, continued to achieve, found new ways to connect with one another and came to understand more than any other class all the significant parts of our campus life that we should never take for granted.
“If there was ever a generation to adapt to these circumstances, it’s you. Who better than you to understand how to connect to each other in this digital world that we have come to depend on over the last past six months?”
This ceremony also marked a first, with four graduates earning a Ph.D. in nursing. Cant also recognized the graduates and alumni who chose to pursue health care careers.
“We celebrate your dedication and compassion, your commitment to the well being of others and to keep us healthy and safe,” said Cant.
Wignot carried out the conferral of degrees and addressed the graduates.
“None of us anticipated that we would continue to experience the global pandemic. The fact that all of you adjusted and continued to preserve for some of you in a completely new learning environment, and for all of you in the environment of the global pandemic. I know this means we have taught you well and we are proud of you. You probably won’t remember the words that Dr. Cant or I say today, but you will remember that you were a very special part of the history of Wilkes University.”
Cant closed the ceremony with congratulations to the graduates and acknowledgment that the graduates are now members of Wilkes’ alumni.
“Graduates, you give us good reason to believe that all of our futures will be brighter and made better because of you,” said Cant in his closing remarks. “May you find great pleasure in all your endeavors and enjoy the satisfaction of working for the greater good that will come from it. We always hope your travels will lead you back to Wilkes. You have earned our congratulations and very best wishes, may you carry with you all the blessings of our 88 year history. You are now and forever a part of Wilkes, and Wilkes forever is a part of you.”