Students celebrate as confetti streamers fly during a commencement ceremony in O’Shaughnessy Stadium on October 10, 2021, in St. Paul. The graduation ceremony was finally celebrated after being canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas

Class of 2020 Returns to Campus to Celebrate Commencement in Person

Members of the Class of 2020 came back to St. Thomas during Homecoming and Family Weekend for more than just a return to their stomping grounds. St. Thomas celebrated them in person with March Out of the Arches, Mass and a ceremony.

The Newsroom captured the excitement and connected with alumni participating in the weekend events.

"I was really happy to see the email about a day to celebrate commencement for the Class of 2020. For me it is really important; it took me more than 10 years to return to do my master's degree after college and then it took me about seven years to finally complete all the classes … so I felt that I was not able to acknowledge the effort and my family sacrifices, and finally said, 'We did it,' together with my husband and two boys Ryan (17) and Erik (13). I shared with them this important moment and showed especially my kids that it doesn’t matter how hard or how many obstacles I had, I did not give up on my goal." – Karina Boos '20 MS in systems engineering

Karina Boos. Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas
Karina Boos '20 MS in systems engineering returned to campus to celebrate earning her degree at O'Shaughnessy Stadium. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

"I'm glad St. Thomas has opted to honor its 2020 graduates by holding the commencement. The ceremony offers an opportunity for me personally to celebrate my achievement in completing this degree. It makes a difference having the ceremony in person versus virtually." – Mercy Gitau '20 MBA

"Graduating in the pandemic was difficult; finding jobs that aligned with my passions and skill set was hard to do in a virtual setting. After bouncing around jobs for a bit, I am now pursuing my master's degree in urban education and planning to get my teaching license for fifth through 12th grade social studies through Metropolitan State University in St. Paul. My justice and peace studies lens is necessary for me to have when looking at social disparities in urban education – I am now using my undergrad education every day!" – Emma Smith '20

Alumni from the Class of 2020 returned to St. Thomas, and crossed the stage at O’Shaughnessy Stadium for a celebration ceremony on Oct. 10, 2021. (Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas)

"Back in spring 2020, I really struggled with the fact that my senior year was over in an instant, and I wasn’t going to get that closure of a graduation ceremony to commemorate the end of my college career. Although I’ve been out of school and working for the past year and a half, it was nice to reunite with classmates I haven’t seen since we left school and celebrate what we all achieved as college graduates." – Emily Reuvers '20