From the President: Reflecting on Commencement

May 29, 2021

Dear Colleagues,

If you watched or attended any of our commencement ceremonies last week, then you surely felt there was something special in the air. To be on campus with our students, faculty, and staff celebrating together after 14 months of separation was both powerful and meaningful. And to hear from so many different voices representing the student body and our community brought it all full circle. Our Owls finally came home.

As we celebrated the Classes of 2020 and 2021, I couldn’t help but wonder at all we’ve overcome in the last year, culminating in the unique opportunity to hold this annual rite of passage in person – not once but five times! It made me reflect with immense gratitude on the deep wellspring of  talent, hard work, and caring that we have at Southern.

This commencement was an outstanding tribute to our university and represented a tremendous lift by our team:  from the stunning setup, seamless programming and thought-provoking speakers to the more technical and often overlooked aspects such as a new guest ticketing system, automated name readings, and concurrent livestreams, both in the stadium and on social media.

All acknowledgments and gratitude belong first and foremost to the University Commencement Committee, led by Brad Crerar and Patrick Dilger, for their adaptability, ingenuity and sheer will of spirit in pulling together these events, and the many volunteers who lent their energies to make them happen. We are all left with the gift of a much-needed lift as we end another academic year.

Today, more than ever, we all have much to look back on and feel grateful for. Thank you all and enjoy this holiday weekend!

Joe Bertolino