“All of us have tremendous pride in you. You have worked so hard for this day. Semester after semester, year after year, and now at a time when things that are always certain become so very uncertain,” is the way that the Associate Dean for Graduate and Professional Programs, Veronica Donahue, greeted guests who joined the virtual ceremony on May 20, 2020.
Determined to recognize the graduates’ academic achievements, faculty, staff, and students collaborated to make the virtual ceremony meaningful, celebratory, and uniquely Hopkins.
1,480 graduates were recognized for earning degrees that ranged from an MS in Biotechnology to a Master in Liberal Arts. Also recognized were 121 students from the School of Arts and Sciences who received their master’s in pursuit of a doctorate’s degree or as part of a combined program with their bachelor’s degree.
Following comments by Dean Beverly Wendland and Provost Sunil Kumar, the 2020 guest speaker, David Hodgson gave a moving speech reminding graduates that while failure is a part of life, it is how one responds to failure that determines his/her character. Mr. Hodgson, the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of General Atlantic, also spoke on how often times we don’t choose our causes; rather, our causes choose us. As an example, he shared how his son took him into supporting research into autism therapy. In collaboration with many Johns Hopkins University faculty, his son is now able to speak recognizable words at the age of 16, which is the latest onset of speech known to Mr. Hodgson. Finally, as a gift to the graduating class, Mr. Hodgson gifted graduates with a free phone case that depicted his son’s artwork reminding them of his message of resilience.
As family and friends watched the ceremony, each graduate was recognized by name. Additionally, many were able to submit photographs to personalize this memorable presentation.
Finally, as a congratulatory send-off, members of the faculty from across the School of Arts and Sciences and its Advanced Academic Programs division shared their well-wishes and toasts for success during the Faculty Cheer.