After a tumultuous year, the St. Lawrence University community got to celebrate the graduation of the Class of 2021 in their own unique (and COVID-19 friendly) way.
It’s hard to imagine today, but good things will come from this tragedy …. Progress will come of it because of all of you.” -Terry Fulmer, Honorary Degree of Humane Letters Recipient
“The Class of 2021 departs St. Lawrence in a year of devastation and difficulty. But unlike many classes before you, you graduate with a charge at Commencement to do the best things in the worst times and to hope beyond calamity,” President William L. Fox ’75 said in his Commencement remarks to the more than 500 members of St. Lawrence University’s Class of 2021 at the April 18, 2021, ceremony.
Graduates were celebrated for all the ways members of the graduating classes have not only persevered but made the Laurentian community better. As with every event this year, to ensure the health and safety of attendees and in accordance with state guidance on large gatherings at that time, graduates were assigned one of four ceremonies held throughout the day. Unfortunately, family members and guests were not able to attend in person but were able to watch the event live online. All speeches and performances were pre-recorded.
Several Laurentians were honored during the event, including Hamidou Sylla ’21, this year’s Joan Donovan Speech Contest winner. His speech centered on themes of overcoming obstacles and persevering together in order to facilitate much-needed change.
“On this journey, we’ve lost loved ones, we’ve mourned and grieved together,” says Sylla. “Yet one thing that has remained consistent these past four years is our ability to come together, to support one another, to learn and grow as a community, and to care about our relationships. That is the compassion that this world needs.”
Terry Fulmer, nationally and internationally recognized expert in geriatrics and president of The John A. Hartford Foundation, received the Honorary Degree of Humane Letters.
“As a nurse, I assure you that this pandemic will resolve and we will be much more prepared for whatever biology or nature brings us in the future. And it will be the leadership of your generation that carries us through,” Fulmer says. “It’s hard to imagine today, but good things will come from this tragedy as well as the tragedies of racism, violence, division, ageism, and fear that we’ve experienced in this era. But progress will come of it because of all of you.”
The Class of 2020 was also celebrated in a ceremony on August 1, 2021. Graduates were invited back to campus to be recognized for their accomplishments and seriousness of purpose as they completed their St. Lawrence studies at the onset of the global pandemic in the spring of 2020. Both of these very special classes will have a unique bond that will connect them for decades to come as they remember the challenges of 2020 and 2021.