Friday, 05 June 2020 09:57

Skidmore Honors Graduates During Live Commencement

SARATOGA SPRINGS – The Skidmore College community came together online to celebrate the creativity and resilience of the Class of 2020, whose final semester was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thousands of graduates, students, family members, alumni and friends from across the globe watched as Skidmore conferred 647 degrees in an unprecedented virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 30. The event was broadcast live from the Surrey-Williamson Inn on Skidmore’s campus, and streamed on Skidmore’s website and social media accounts.

The tribute included many of the usual components of a traditional Commencement ceremony — a touching rendition of Skidmore’s alma mater performed by Emma Berkowitz ’20 and Lindsay Walsh ’20; welcoming remarks by Jinan Al-Busaidi ’20, senior class president; a speech by faculty speaker Jennifer C. Mueller; and greetings from President Philip A. Glotzbach, who invited graduates to rise and move their tassels from right to left, symbolizing the conferring of degrees. 

But this year was also unique: Like educational institutions across the United States and the world, the College suddenly switched to online learning this spring. During the Commencement ceremony, graduates gathered with friends and family members in smaller groups as part of global social distancing efforts to contain the spread of the disease. 

Rather than walk across the stage at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center (SPAC), graduates, many wearing caps and gowns at home, were recognized during a live program. Diplomas were sent out by mail.

Praising the resilience of the Class of 2020, President Glotzbach noted there was no playbook for the pandemic, nor for life.

“We all had to make it up as we went along — rather like trying to keep an airplane flying while making emergency repairs. But you rose to the challenge. Along with so many people at our College, you displayed flexibility, inventiveness, perseverance and creativity,” the president told graduates. “Yours is arguably one of the most resilient classes in the College’s history — perhaps the most resilient one.” 

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