Tears, farewells, words of encouragement, and President Paul’s final goodbye were some of the highlights of Capital’s first virtual graduation.
Capital, like many other education institutions across the country, has decided to move forward using virtual tools as a platform for graduation.
Around 356 Zoom attendees from across the nation waited in anticipation during the minutes leading up to the graduation.
Pastor Drew Tucker opened the ceremony with a prayer acknowledging how everyone is yearning to be with one another. This was followed by President Beth Paul who gave a formal introduction of the ceremony at hand.
A key highlight from the ceremony was a speech given by Samantha Montanez, a senior and former president of student government. The speech briefly touched on how it can be difficult to fathom the circumstances that seniors find themselves.
Graduation has always been seen as something that everyone can get to experience at some point, similar to getting a driver license. It’s a rite of passage; a stepping stone into the next chapter of someone’s life.
A fair argument can be made that society has taken traditional graduations for granted over the years. Walking across a stage to accept a diploma has been seen as the natural and expected conclusion to one’s academic career.
The COVID-19 pandemic has altered the conventions of society, and that’s clearly reflected early on in the speech.
“Today, we were supposed to be together in the Cap Center lining up to receive the diplomas that we’ve worked so hard for over the last four years,” Montanez said.
After the speech was delivered, a video created by Professor Dan Stemen was showcased. The video consisted of footage from various professors on campus celebrating the achievements of the Class of 2020.
One notable quote from the video came from Professor Jayne Byrnes, a staff member with the School of Leadership and Management. She mentioned how everyone is constantly living in a “VUCA world.”
VUCA (Volatile. Uncertainty. Complexity. Ambiguity) is a word that is used a lot in the business world because it sums up everything that a business leader has to consider when managing a firm. Things can change rapidly, and there are no guarantees for what tomorrow holds. Utilize what you have now in order to build up adaptability for what lies in the future.
Nowadays, this is a philosophy that everyday people can easily latch onto.
Towards the end of the ceremony, President Paul returned to deliver a final address to the senior class. The Class of 2020 is the class that Paul came in with, and it’s the same class that she will be leaving with. It’s rather poetic.
“It is with special pride that I join you today,” Paul said, “because you are the class that I came in with when I joined Capital University four years ago. One way or another, Capital will have a commencement.”
The undergraduate journey has come to an end for the Class of 2020, but Paul, in the spirit of commencement speeches, ended on a hopeful note.
“Let’s go rock our world. Come on,” Paul said.
The final seconds of the Zoom session showed Paul walking out of Capital’s front gate and into the world beyond.