Cabrini University held its 60th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, August 8, welcoming students from the Class of 2020 to the Upper Athletic Field for three socially distant ceremonies. Conducted at 9am, noon, and 3pm, each ceremony was conducted in accordance Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s COVID-19 social restrictions, as well as social distancing and sanitization guidelines established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pennsylvania Department of Health.
The morning session honored graduates from the School of Business, Arts, and Media; the noon session recognized students from both the School of Natural Sciences and Allied Health as well as the School of Humanities and Social Sciences; and the 3pm ceremony celebrated graduates of the School of Education. Cabrini President Donald B. Taylor, PhD, and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost, Chioma Ugochukwu, PhD, were joined on stage by the respective Dean of each school to honor recipients of undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees.
“At the start of the 2019-2020 school year, none of us could have imagined the circumstances under which we are celebrating commencement here today,” said President Taylor. “You are not just a group of students who happened to graduate from Cabrini during a global pandemic. You are a group of strong-willed leaders who got the job done while pushing each other and this University to become their own best versions. You have grown with us, and you have helped us grow.”
The invocation for each ceremony, delivered via video by Lyndsey Guarino (’20), further acknowledged the adversity the Class of 2020 faced in earning their degrees during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Cabrini’s 2020 graduates completed their coursework virtually, as campus closed in March to mitigate the spread of the virus. Cabrini’s Virtual Conferral of Degrees, held May 17, conferred a total of 507 degrees on 324 undergraduate and 183 graduate students.
“Change comes easy to us now,” Guarino said. “We have learned how to adapt at a moment’s notice. We demonstrated our ability to make sacrifices for the sake of others, as the ideals of Cabrini have encouraged us to do. Let’s take a moment to appreciate where we are today and what we have accomplished. I am thankful to be a part of the resilient and inspiring Class of 2020.”
Despite these challenges, Valedictorian Victoria Yarbrough earned a 4.0 grade point average with her Bachelor of Arts in English. In her address to fellow classmates and their families, Yarbrough said that amid a worldwide health crisis, as well as recent social turmoil over racism and police brutality, she knew she had to use her valedictory speech “to say something more than the usual.”
“Who are you when the world is upside down?” she asked. “Who will you be when the hard times are upon us? Will you be someone who only serves the self? Will you close your hearts and minds to people who look differently than you, who have opinions that are different than yours? Or, will you be a giver, a listener, and a fighter? Will you be a bright spot in the dark moments?”
Bells from Bruckmann Memorial Chapel of Saint Joseph rang across campus in the final moments of each ceremony as Ray Ward, PhD, Director of the Wolfington Center, offered a benediction and final prayer.
“The Cabrini way has always been one of welcome, of community, and of growth together,” Ward said. “Mother Cabrini knew plenty about storms and voyages, and she knew plenty about love, especially love in the midst of great difficulties. That love is the fiery core of our Education of the Heart, and love is what I hope you carry forward across this threshold today.”
A recap video from each ceremony can be viewed here.
About Cabrini University
Founded in 1957 by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Cabrini University is a Catholic institution that empowers students to become advocates of social change through an Education of the Heart, focusing on academic excellence, community engagement, and leadership development.
Cabrini enrolls approximately 1,550 undergraduates in more than 40 majors, pre-professional programs, concentrations, and minors on its serene 112-acre campus located 30 minutes from Philadelphia. The University also enrolls 525 students in graduate, doctoral, and professional studies programs at its main campus in Radnor, PA, and at five off-campus locations.