Skip to main content

2021 Undergraduate Commencement Remarks, May 22, 2021

In early March 2020, the Geneseo campus was abuzz with activity and experiencing the first signs of the coming spring as students shed their heavy coats and ventured onto the College Green in defiance of the still cool air. The Ice Knights were about to go on an NCAA championship run, and the Musical Theatre program was in rehearsal for an April 1st premiere of Damn Yankees. All seemed to be as usual, with winter departing and Spring Break approaching…And then COVID-19 descended, and the world changed.

So, we went remote and became Zoom experts. We put on masks and faced a new reality of physical distancing, empty classrooms, and take-out meals. Over that summer, we experienced a renewed national movement against racial injustice, and in the fall, we voted in record numbers in one of the most momentous elections in memory. But through it all, we stayed together as a college and community, facing the challenges thrown our way and navigating a pandemic. The Class of 2021 has encountered obstacles unlike any in the history of the College. And you faced them with determination and a sense of purpose, no matter the restriction or unforeseen complication, and kept your dreams alive. And so, you have reached Commencement.

Our celebration of your achievement is not as we would have wanted, nor was the past year. Yet, through it all, you have accomplished much and are about to join the long line of Geneseo alumni who are leaders in their fields and in their communities. You have much to offer as our post-pandemic world will need talented, thoughtful, and dedicated world citizens to bring us back to near normalcy, whatever form that may take. You are smart, adaptive, and service oriented - exactly what our society needs right now. The College’s mission calls on us to inspire socially responsible and globally aware citizens; I can think of no better testimony to our success than all of you. I couldn’t be prouder of all you have done and know you will do in the future. Well done Class of 2021… well done.