Marist College Welcomes back Class of 2020 for In-Person Commencement
May 31, 2022 – It’s been anything but a typical road for Marist’s Class of 2020. During the spring of 2020, the class finished their time at Marist virtually due to the pandemic, which included a virtual graduation ceremony. Two years later, hundreds of those adult and traditional undergraduate and graduate students were invited back to campus for a full Commencement weekend experience.
After a Friday night including Riverfest and fireworks, Saturday hundreds of 2020 graduates performed their traditional rite of passage for Marist students. While thunderstorms forced the festivities for the 74th Marist Commencement off the Campus Green and inside McCann Arena, students from the Class of 2020 were thrilled to finally received their deserved opportunity to walk the stage.
“Class of 2020, finally!” exclaimed Marist College President Dr. Kevin Weinman in his opening remarks. President Weinman made the decision to invite the class back and acknowledged the long road to Commencement weekend. “You have waited two years for this moment. Congratulations,” he said. “You’ll be a Red Fox for life and I hope you are as proud of your connection to Marist as Marist is of you.”
President Emeritus Dr. Dennis J. Murray
Special guest speaker Dr. Dennis J. Murray, former Marist College President and now President Emeritus, addressed the class after receiving a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree from the college he has served for over forty years. The honor was presented by his son Michael Murray ’06 and President Weinman.
In his address, Dr. Murray discussed the pressing importance for leadership at this time while also acknowledging the resiliency of this class.
“What COVID threw at your class wasn’t fair, but you proved you were resilient, time and time again,” said Dr. Murray. “You faced the challenge head on, you adapted, and you had the courage to endure. You began your careers, started graduate programs, and moved forward with your lives. You showed true grit!”
Dr. Murray also urged the class to make a difference in the world. “Very few of us here today will have a chance to change the course of history, but all of us will have a chance to change a small portion of events that affect the way we live our lives, and the quality of the lives of those around us. Individuals in your family, workplace, and your community will all be affected by the way you live your life,” said Dr. Murray.
Also addressing the class was valedictorian Emmanuelle Farrell and Daniel Creedon, who received the Award for Excellence in Graduate Studies.
Farrell, majored in psychology, with a minor in cognitive science, and also was a member of the Alpha Chi and Psi Chi honor societies at Marist. She recently graduated with a Master of Social Work degree from Rutgers University, and has accepted a position as a clinical case manager at the Cambridge Eating Disorder Center in Boston. She spoke of the road back to Marist for Commencement and the strong sense of community on campus, where just the mere courtesy act of opening doors for people is the norm.
“Although we left Marist at a tragic time in global history, our gathering here today represents our unity, regardless of our circumstances,” said Farrell. “We have come this far because of the schools that taught us, the people who supported us and the inner strength that sustained us, and here we are standing on the threshold of our future.”
Excellence in Graduate Studies Awardee Daniel Creedon (left) and Valedictorian Emmanuelle Farrell (right)
Creedon, who is a graduate of the Marist College Physician Assistant Program, and is now an orthopedic surgery physician assistant at Hospital for Special Surgery and Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, discussed his experience and the perspective he has developed after these last two years.
“The world has changed more than we could ever imagine. The world we entered as graduates was much different than when we started our journey at Marist,” said Creedon. “We return for our graduation, not as new graduates going out in to the world, but instead wearing the many hard taught lessons the world has taught us,” he said.
The 2020 ceremony brought an end to an historic and expanded Commencement season at Marist. The Class of 2022 was honored the previous weekend.
The full Commencement for the Class of 2020 can be found here.