UMSL celebrating the accomplishments of nearly 1,400 spring graduates

by | May 15, 2020

Chancellor Kristin Sobolik, UM System President Mun Choi and UMSL's deans were among those offering their congratulations in video messages to the graduates.
2020 spring graduates

(Graphic by Joan Barnidge)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis could not allow nearly 1,400 students to complete their degree and certificate programs this week without celebrating their accomplishments.

The current public health crisis might have forced the pomp and circumstance of commencement ceremonies to be postponed until December, but it could not diminish the pride faculty, staff and administrators feel for all those who persevered, particularly amid the challenges of the semester’s last two months.

“You have managed to survive and thrive, to adapt and to succeed,” Chancellor Kristin Sobolik said in a recorded message to graduates. “We are just so proud and can’t wait to see all of the great things that you do out and about in the world. We need a lot of change in the world, and you can lead that way.”

She added: “Go forth, do great things, as I know you will, and just know that we’re always here for you. We’re always proud of you, and the world needs exactly what you have.”

Sobolik’s message appeared with other messages of congratulations from University of Missouri System President Mun Choi, University of Missouri Board of Curators Chair Julia BrncicUMSL Student Government Association President and graduate McKenzie Schuessler and UMSL Alumni Association President Joe Blanner on a webpage commending Spring 2020 graduates.

The page also featured videos from UMSL’s nine deans: Andrew Kersten from the College of Arts and Sciences, Charles Hoffman from the College of Business Administration, Ann Taylor from the College of Education, Joseph O’Sullivan from the UMSL/Washington University Joint Undergraduate Engineering Program, Teresa Thiel from the Graduate School, Edward Munn Sanchez from the Pierre Laclede Honors College, Roxanne Vandermause from the College of Nursing, Larry Davis from the College of Optometry and Sharon Johnson from the School of Social Work.

Alumni, donors, friends, faculty and staff also posted written messages gathered at the bottom of the page.

Individual academic units also created their own acknowledgements or are holding virtual celebrations for their graduates. What follows is a sampling of those actions or events.

  • The College of Nursing recorded an awards and recognition ceremony they made available to nursing graduates on Wednesday.
  • The College of Education released a video with words of congratulations from its faculty.
  • Since the end of April, the College of Optometry has been spotlighting graduates on its Facebook page, and it is hosting a send-off of its graduates and a virtual award ceremony through Zoom at 2 p.m. on Friday.
  • The Honors College is holding a virtual graduation party at 5:30 p.m. on Friday using Microsoft Teams.
  • The College of Business Administration is hosting a graduation celebration at 1 p.m. Saturday on Zoom with messages from its deans, chairs and directors as well as a PowerPoint that lists each graduate’s name.
  • The School of Social Work is honoring its graduates as well as the alumna/alumnus of the year and field instructor of the year in a virtual event at 2 p.m. Saturday.
  • Departments in the College of Arts and Sciences each came up with their own way to acknowledge their graduates.
  • Several departments, including History and Communication and Media shared video messages with their students.
  • Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry and English were among the departments highlighting individual graduates in graphics on their Facebook or Instagram pages.
  • The Department of Language and Cultural Studies scheduled virtual language tables to celebrate the graduates in Chinese, French, German, Japanese and Spanish and award outstanding student certificates.
  • The Department of Economics is hosting a Zoom celebration at 4 p.m. on Saturday with remarks from Chair Anne Winkler and Assistant Chair Michael Allison and recognition of the individual graduates.
Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik