LATROBE, PA – Saint Vincent College will award 118 bachelor’s and master’s degrees to its December graduates, while also recognizing all of its May 2020 graduates, during a special virtual December commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Recorded in the historic Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica, the event will be available for viewing on the Saint Vincent College website (www.stvincent.edu) and YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/SaintVincentCollege).
“The commitment of all of our 2020 graduates to completing their degrees amid such extraordinary and challenging circumstances is inspiring,” said Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., Saint Vincent College president. “We certainly wish that we would be able to gather together in person to celebrate this milestone, but we hope that this virtual December commencement will be a special experience for our graduates, their loved ones and our entire Bearcat community.”
Presided over by Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, the virtual ceremony will include all elements of a traditional, in-person Saint Vincent College commencement, including invocation, conferral of an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, principal speaker, individual recognition of graduates, remarks from the senior class president and the singing of the Saint Vincent College Alma Mater.
Jeri Eckhart Queenan, senior partner at The Bridgespan Group and formerly the U.S. associate deputy secretary of labor, chair and CEO of the White House Fellows Commission and member of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, will be awarded an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and deliver the principal commencement address.
During the virtual conferral of degrees, each May and December bachelor’s and master’s degree recipient will be recognized by the deans of their respective schools – Dr. Gary Quinlivan, dean of the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics and Government; Dr. Stephen Jodis, dean of the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing; and Dr. Margaret Watkins, dean of the School of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. Watkins will also recognize the 2020 graduates of the Bearcat B.E.S.T. (Building Excellence through Skills Training) program, which aims to develop independent living for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The ceremony will be held virtually due to the restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. By adhering to health and safety guidelines developed by its Forward Together Advisory Committee, with guidance from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Saint Vincent College completed its Fall 2020 semester on Dec. 11. Courses were delivered in a ‘hy-flex’ model - a combination of in-person and virtual instruction - while modified dining, residence hall and gathering policies were enacted.
PHOTO: Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., addresses graduates at the 2019 December Commencement in the Robert S. Carey Student Center Performing Arts Center