While the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact so many facets of society over the duration of 2020, that’s not stopping the Lurie College of Education at San José State University from organizing a live graduation celebration to recognize our more than 200 Fall 2020 graduates (and soon-to-be alumni)!
This year has presented our students, our college, and our communities with one challenge and hardship after another, from prioritizing our health and safety while simultaneously addressing educational inequities in response to COVID-19; to responding to acts of racial injustice and uprooting systemic racism; to surviving wildfires and dangerous air quality levels; and to navigating through a tumultuous election cycle. Despite all of these challenges and hardships, I have been proud to witness our students, faculty, and staff persevere and support one another throughout this year while continuing to make progress towards their personal, academic, and professional hopes, dreams, and goals. With that in mind, while we are unable to celebrate with our graduates in person at this time, it’s our priority to celebrate virtually with them to acknowledge their accomplishments and bring some closure to their academic experiences with us. We look forward to welcoming our graduates back to campus and celebrating in person together when it is safe to do so. – Dean Heather Lattimer
The Lurie College Graduation Celebration will take place online on Friday, December 18, at 4pm PST and begin with a college-wide ceremony that will include remarks from Dean Heather Lattimer, Associate Dean Marcos Pizarro, and student speaker Jacqueline Lopez Rivas, who is graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Development.
I’m so grateful and appreciative to have this opportunity to represent my peers as the graduation speaker. With everything that’s happened this year, it’s been challenging for us to find moments to celebrate. For me personally, I had previously taken a break from school and practicing self care made a huge difference in my life and in my ability to return to school and graduate. It takes hard work to heal because it’s not always easy to focus on the difficult things in our lives. However, that’s where having and practicing healthy and safe outlets come in. Having a support system, different meditation practices, and getting in touch with my creativity are all my personal examples. I’ve seen so much resilience, perseverence, and commitment from my peers as well, so I’m looking forward to all of us having the opportunity to celebrate our graduation and end this year on a great note. After we graduate, I hope that everyone continues to find joy, keep working towards their goals, and not be discouraged. – Jacqueline Lopez Rivas
Each Fall 2020 graduate will also be recognized during the college-wide ceremony. Lurie College graduates, faculty, and staff have been invited to attend the live ceremony on Zoom, and family and friends are invited to watch the live ceremony on the Lurie College YouTube channel.
After the college-wide ceremony, each Lurie College department – Child & Adolescent Development, Communicative Disorders & Sciences, Counselor Education, Special Education, and Teacher Education – is hosting an online reception to include remarks from faculty chairpersons, individualized slideshows, and socializing among graduates, faculty, and staff to close out the semester and calendar year.
Since this semester’s experience is entirely digital, Lurie College has created some other digital items to add to the experience, such as:
San José State University as a whole is honoring and celebrating all Fall 2020 graduates by launching graduate recognition websites, which will go live on Friday, December 18, at 10am. Learn more on the SJSU Commencement website.
For me, graduating also goes beyond my own personal meaning. It carries great importance for my family, friends, community, and future generations, especially as someone who is Latinx, a woman, queer, and a first-generation college student entering the education profession. Sadly, I also have personal contacts and know of SJSU students who will never have the chance to graduate because their lives were cut short, so to me this graduation is in honor of all of them and is an opportunity that I am not taking for granted. – Jacqueline Lopez Rivas