WISE COUNTY, Va. (WJHL) – Congratulations to all the graduates of The University of Virginia’s College at Wise! Watch the video of the Spring 2020 commencement ceremony here.
UVA Wise Chancellor Donna P. Henry decided to livestream a virtual commencement ceremony on Saturday at the same time the original event would have been held.
The virtual ceremony allowed Henry to confer degrees on the nearly 250 graduates so their families could watch from their own homes, according to a press release from the college.
“Commencement marks the close of the academic year,” she said in the release. “It brings our broader community’ together to celebrate you and your achievements. Our broader ‘community’ includes each of you – our graduates. It includes our faculty and our staff who invest in you, who remember your individual gifts and talents, and who cherish the special bonds you have forged long after you have graduated.”
The release stated that the broader community would still celebrate the occasion in person in October.
“For the Class of 2020, I know you feel a great sense of loss over your final spring semester in College,” Henry said. “The loss of Cavapalooza, the spring theater productions and musical recitals, the undergraduate research presentations at NCUR or the American Chemical Society, your final Late Night Breakfast, the scent of freshly mowed grass lingering on campus, and the sight of newly planted flowers in our beautiful gardens.”
Henry said she knows the sense of loss they have of final hurrahs with friends and the loss of final words of wisdom, encouragement and appreciation spoken between teacher and student, according to the release.
“But, there is a silver lining,” she said. “It’s called character. Character has poured into our virtual classrooms. Character lights up this campus even while you are away. It’s palpable. It comes in the form of patience, generosity, perseverance, resilience, strength, and unity.”
Chancellor Henry urged the Class of 2020 to be extra proud of what they have accomplished this year. She also invited the graduates and their loved ones to attend the Oct. 4 commencement, the release said.
Mason Phillips, the Student Government Association president, also addressed the graduates. Phillips said the class had more than its fair share of struggles during the pandemic, but each had an opportunity to shine.
“However, you persevered, Phillips said. “You stayed connected with your classmates and professors, you continued to grind through your classes when they were converted to an online format, and you kept your spirits high even when we were all removed from our normal routine. With all of this adversity, it would’ve been very easy to quit. But you didn’t. You made it.
Interim Provost Mark Clark presented the Class of 2020 to Chancellor Henry so she would confer the degrees.
“Wherever it is you may be, I hope you will move your tassel from the right to the left,” Henry said. “You have now completed a major milestone in your life’s journey and we are thrilled to have set the path and joined you on your journey.”