Former Secretary of State for Education Arne Duncan joined Dominican University of California students, faculty, and staff in a virtual graduation celebration for the 523 undergraduate and graduate students receiving degrees this spring.
Dominican released a short film congratulating the 367 undergraduate and 156 graduate students belonging to the Class of 2020 on May 16 at 10 a.m. This is when the since-postponed in-person ceremony was due to begin. A formal commencement ceremony is scheduled to take place in October, subject to official health and safety guidelines.
The film began with an introduction by President Mary B. Marcy and a message of congratulations by Secretary Duncan, who served as the Secretary for Education under President Barack Obama and currently is a Managing Partner of the Emerson Collective.
“I am a huge fan of the University,” Secretary Duncan said. “College is about inclusion, not exclusion, and Dominican is absolutely leading and living those values.”
Secretary Duncan urged the Class of 2020 to continue working together to find solutions to today’s challenges.
“We need your leadership now more than ever. We need your ability to take care of each other to make the world safer, to make the world a better place, to help move all of us past this time of crisis and to find ways to do so with real empathy and real understanding.”
Dominican faculty and staff submitted individual messages of congratulations. The stars of the film – the graduates – submitted short clips describing in one word what Dominican means to them.
In her introduction, President Marcy revealed her one word of inspiration this year.
“It is YOU,” she told the Class of 2020.
“I watched you step up and say this is a reality – we are going to take care of each other, we are going to take care of our families, and we are going to complete our degrees. Think about what you have done – I am so proud of you, the entire community is proud of you.”
Dominican’s Commencement Committee worked in collaboration with student leaders from the Associated Students of Dominican University (ASDU) to determine the style, tone, and elements that will make for a memorable celebration. With input from the class, an upbeat, documentary-style video and production was created by videographer Jennifer Bellingham ’17.
Dominican is tentatively planning to hold an in-person commencement for the Class of 2020 to coincide with the annual Family Weekend and Convocation, Oct. 9-11.
The following students receiving University awards were announced during the film.
- Outstanding Undergraduate Student: Monica Barry, Bachelor of Arts, English with Writing Emphasis
- Veritas Cup: Shaina Gaba, Bachelor of Science, Nursing
- School of Liberal Arts and Education: Brighid Fitzgibbon, Master of Arts, Humanities
- School of Health and Natural Sciences: Julie Blanchard, Master of Science, Physician Assistant Studies (December 2019 graduate)
- Barowsky School of Business: Joanna San Diego, Master of Business Administration and Kevin San Diego, Master of Business Administration.