Hello, I’m Denise Battles, President of SUNY Geneseo, and I welcome you to this Senior Send-Off, a tribute to Geneseo’s Class of 2020. I hope wherever you’re watching that you and your family are staying healthy and safe during this challenging period.
So, to you, the Class of 2020, congratulations on achieving this important milestone in your lives. Earning a college degree is a laudable accomplishment because it requires no small commitment of time, energy, and resources. But, of course, this semester, you did so under the most extraordinary of circumstances.
Throughout history, Geneseo’s Knights have always risen to the challenge, and the Class of 2020 showed great perseverance and a whole lot of heart in overcoming significant obstacles. The pandemic we are dealing with did not keep you from finishing your degrees and will not define your Geneseo experience. The lasting friendships made, laughter shared on the College Green, and lessons learned in the classroom are and always will be with you as you move into an exciting future. As you turn the page to the next chapter of your lives, think back on those glistening Geneseo moments, and reflect on them as you did at the gazebo watching the sun set over the Genesee Valley.
You, the Class of 2020, are destined to make your marks. I have seen you grow as scholars, leaders, and researchers to become conscientious individuals determined to serve others and achieve much. You are now a member of an elite company, alumni who have taken on the challenges of leadership, service, and citizenship. I have little doubt you will ably join them in reaching ever higher levels of accomplishment and likewise inspire the generations of Geneseo graduates to come.
Commencement has always been the highlight of the academic year for me. Had the situation been different, we would have joyously gathered in the Ira, you seated excitedly before me, surrounded by your family and friends, and I would be intoning these words... "By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the State University of New York, the College Council of the State University of New York at Geneseo, and the faculty, I now confer upon you the Bachelor’s degree, admitting you to all rights and privileges pertaining thereto." Of course, this year’s circumstances are different, but the spirit of Commencement lives on in our hearts as we look forward to the in-person ceremony next May. The Class of 2020 will have the unique distinction of having the first year-long commencement celebration, thereby ringing in our College’s Sesquicentennial. What an occasion that will be! For now, please accept my heartfelt congratulations on your momentous achievement.
On behalf of the faculty, staff, and administration, those graduates who have come before you and those of the future, we - the people of the Geneseo community - proudly welcome you to the ranks of our esteemed alumni. You are and always will be a Knight; no matter how far you travel or how long you are away, Geneseo will welcome you home. Next May, we will reunite to formally honor all of your accomplishments, but until then, I will leave you with these words from the College’s Alma Mater...
Send us on our way.
With our life's work we'll repay…
Congratulations once more, and be safe and well.