Dear campus community,
While the month of May traditionally means blooming flowers and the onset of summer and warmer months ahead, it has even more special meaning to those of us in higher education.
Each spring, members of our current graduating class celebrate a milestone that they have worked toward their entire lives. They gather to reflect on their college years, receive well-earned kudos from family and friends on their achievements and talk excitedly with classmates about future plans.
This spring, we all know, will be different, largely due to circumstances beyond our control. I am sure that many members of the campus community have read last week’s announcement by CSU Chancellor White about plans for Fall 2020 semester. But even before that we had made the difficult decision to postpone our traditional ceremonies when it became apparent that in-person gatherings would not yet be possible. While the public health crisis we find ourselves in prevents a traditional, in-person commencement ceremony for the time being, the recognition itself goes on with our Spring Class of 2020 Graduate Recognition Websites, which launch this Friday, May 22.
No website can ever replace an in-person ceremony, of course. But our graduates have earned this acknowledgement and celebration, and we are working hard to make these pre-recorded recognition websites—one for each of our eight colleges—as memorable as we can. Even without a “live” component to these websites, students and their families can visit at their leisure. I have every reason to believe we will deliver a digital experience for our spring graduates that is befitting of their accomplishment.
At the same time, we continue carefully to observe updates and guidance from county, state and federal officials as they relate to large-scale events, and we will make announcements on such events when we have new guidance and clarity around those issues. We currently are inviting graduates who wish to make their well-deserved walk across the stage to take part at our next in-person ceremonies.
Our Spring 2020 graduating class will go down in SJSU history for its resilience and ability to accept adversity and change. As much as any graduating class before it, we will need this new generation of alumni, just as we continue to need our current alumni.
We need these graduates to help mentor future SJSU students. We need them to support our university’s creative, academic, and athletic endeavors. We need their creativity and dedication. We need them as role models, and we need their civic leadership and community activism. However our new graduates choose to remain active, they and the entire SJSU alumni community are an essential element of what we want to accomplish as a university.
I could not be more proud of those SJSU students nearing graduation who are taking the final steps toward their degrees in the midst of such unprecedented circumstances. These are trying and challenging times, and our students should be commended for their perseverance, flexibility, resilience, and can-do spirit.
The Class of 2020 may be forged in challenge, but the strength of each of our graduates that emerges from this pandemic will lead to a generation of thinkers and doers ready to engage with and find solutions to the problems of our times.
So congratulations to all of our spring graduates. And to everyone else in our campus community, I wish you good health and best wishes as we continue working our way out of this current crisis. I hope to see you in person again soon.
Dr. Mary A. Papazian