Keeping its promise to graduates, SUNY Oneonta held a graduation recognition and celebration for the Class of 2020 on Saturday, Oct. 30, on campus in the Alumni Field House.
Nearly 300 graduates and their families returned to SUNY Oneonta for the event, which featured student performances, speakers and the Leatherstocking District Pipe Band.
During his welcome to graduates, the college's new president, Dr. Alberto Cardelle, said he was honored to meet the Class of 2020 and was pleased to be able to participate in such an exciting moment in their lives. Class of 2020 Senior Class President Amarii Smith said she was happy to be back on campus and congratulated her classmates for everything they have overcome. Smith is now working as the assistant program director for United Activities Unlimited, Inc., a New York City-based nonprofit that helps underprivileged and impoverished youth and families.
SUNY Oneonta was unable to safely hold a ceremony of this magnitude in the height of COVID, and 2020 graduates were promised that the college would host the ceremony when it was safe enough to do so.
"And we are keeping that promise," said Kathy Meeker, organizer of the event. "With health and safety measures in place, we are thrilled that we could finally celebrate our 2020 graduates in person."
Following the graduation ceremony, graduates had the chance to participate in the beloved tradition Pass the Pillars, which is unique to SUNY Oneonta. Graduates walked through the pillars in the opposite direction from when they passed through as freshmen, signifying their exit from the college community and entrance to the next phase of their lives. The pillars are the only remaining piece of Old Main, which was the college's first and original building.
The celebration was topped off with a reception for graduates, their families and friends.
For those who were unable to attend, a live stream was provided. To view the celebration, visit SUNY Oneonta’s YouTube channel.