For the Class of 2020, Commencement Was Worth the Wait
Give or take a semester here and there, the college experience—that formative series of moments that take place from orientation until graduation—is about four years of a student’s life.
For members of the Anderson University Class of 2020, the journey was a bit longer—by about six months.
“When we left for spring break in March, we never imagined it would be our last day on campus,” said Emma Morris Beaver, a summa cum laude graduate with a degree in creative writing. “We lost many special moments of our senior year.”
One special moment was found again.
On Friday, Oct. 2, 2020, Anderson University celebrated its graduating class with a postponed commencement in honor of those whose May commencement was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Morris Beaver was one of the 515 new alumni who returned to campus for commencement.
“I’m grateful that Anderson overcame obstacles to hold a safe commencement ceremony under the oak trees on Alumni Lawn,” she said. “It felt like a reunion to see friends, peers and roommates after six months—even if it was through masks. This season has taught us what a gift it is to gather together in prayer and celebration.”
Gratitude was Sam Gordon’s first reaction, too. A cum laude graduate with a degree in digital media, the bittersweet trip to Anderson was worth the wait.
“I was so grateful for the chance to graduate in person,” Gordon said. “Even though it ended up being on a much different timeline than expected, I’m glad that I got much of the same experience as other graduates.”
Morris Beaver and Gordon are a part of an accomplished class. In total, 436 students earned a bachelor’s degree and 66 earned a master’s degree. In addition, four students completed a doctorate program and another nine earned a graduate certificate.
Notably, the Class of 2020 included the first graduates of new programs, including two students earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science; three earning a Bachelor of Arts in Dance; and one earning a Doctor of Ministry in 21st Century Ministry.
Yet, for all of their accomplishments, for Morris Beaver and Gordon, it all came down to what brought them to Anderson University in the first place: a sense of community, of belonging—and of home.
“Getting to watch friends who have gone through my AU journey with me walk as well was such a blessing,” Gordon said. “Everything from the white horse to a cookie from Mrs. Whitaker helped give a satisfying bookend to my time at AU. I will never forget my experiences at AU and I am excited to join the ranks of proud alumni that have come before me.”