Tenacious Degree Holders

Despite the pandemic forcing them off campus for their final year and a half of college, the class of 2021 graduated—in person and in style.

Tenacious Degree Holders
The mask is a newer graduation accessory—add it to caps, gowns, ribbons, and, sometimes, stilts. Photo by Jim Gensheimer.

Unforeseeable. A 2017 memo announcing the class of ’21 brags about test scores. But it turns out it was the tenacity of this group of Broncos that mattered. The pandemic sent most off campus. They juggled learning, grief, and growth over great distances. But from the unexpected came an even greater triumph. Despite hardships, the class of 2021 graduated.

Over their computers and through video classes, students repositioned themselves and how they learn and work. Biology students received brain tissue to study via the mail. Latin learners dove into virtual reality to learn about navigating ancient Rome. These scholars worked hard.

After all of that effort, it was unclear if any kind of celebration could be had at all. But Broncos found a way, combining in-person and virtual celebrations, and the class of 2021 commenced into the world.

[Visit the SCU Class of 2021 Commencement webpage.]

Santa Clara Women’s Soccer Coach Jerry Smith told the class of 2021 they had grown in ways nothing could have foretold back in 2017. “We all know from this past year, the one constant in life … is change,” he said. “Be ready for uncertainty. Think outside the box, be resourceful, collaborate, and be part of the solution. Continue to rely on your strength of character and your foundation of Jesuit education from Santa Clara University.”

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