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Drew Celebrates Commencement With Six In-Person Ceremonies

Events honored the Classes of 2020 and 2021 for all three schools

May 2021 – Drew University celebrated the graduating Classes of 2020 and 2021 in six in-person ceremonies on campus over the weekend.

The events honored students from the College of Liberal Arts, Drew Theological School, and Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

Prior to taking part in the in-person ceremonies, the graduating Classes of 2021 participated in a virtual ceremony on Thursday, May 13, which featured the main Commencement address, awarding of honorary degrees, and student speakers from each of the three schools. The members of the Classes of 2020, whose original ceremony was moved entirely virtual last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic, returned to The Forest and were able to cross the Commencement stage a year late.

Here’s a look at each in-person event.

Friday, May 14

Theological School Classes of 2020 and 2021 – Watch here

The Drew Theological School kicked off the in-person festivities by celebrating the Classes of 2020 and 2021.

In the last few years we have been brought together here at Drew as a family of sorts, with different ethnicities, languages, customs, different food and dress and hair stylings, diverse skin colors, and beautiful gender identities and sexual orientations, different ages and abilities and theologies, and worship styles, and together we have learned,” said faculty speaker Mark A. Miller, Associate Professor of Church Music, Director of Craig Chapel, and Composer-in-Residence, who received the 2021 Theological School Scholar/Teacher of the Year.

For more photos, click here.

Caspersen School of Graduate Studies Classes of 2020 and 2021 – Watch here

The Caspersen School of Graduate Studies held a joint celebration of the Classes of 2020 and 2021.

“‘Exceptional’ means unusual, or not typical, a pretty good description of what we have experienced this past year. However, ‘exceptional’ also means unusually good, outstanding. This year has been incredibly challenging on so many fronts, yet I see what you have done, and it has been exceptional. And I know there is more exceptional to come,” said faculty speaker Kristen Turner, Professor and Director of Teacher Education, and winner of last year’s Thomas H Kean Scholar/Mentor of the Year Award in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

For more photos, click here.

CLA Class of 2020 – Watch here

The CLA Class of 2020 had to wait a year to walk down Ceremonial Path, but the young alums came back to The Forest in droves.

We call this ceremony Commencement because it is the beginning of a new phase of your life. In some ways, we are all starting a new phase of our lives. You, Class of 2020, are uniquely positioned to help design this new phase because you aren’t constrained in the way things used to be. It is the perfect time to start things anew and you are in exactly the place to lead the way,” said faculty speaker Brianne Barker, Associate Professor of Biology and winner of last year’s President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts.

For more photos, click here.

Saturday, May 15

CLA Class of 2021: Sciences – Watch here

The CLA Class of 2021 was split into three groups by major in order to comply with COVID-19 health and safety protocols. The festivities started with students graduating in the sciences.

You are the acorns that grow into the mighty oaks (of The Forest),” said faculty speaker Tammy Windfelder, Associate Professor of Biology, the winner of the 2021 President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching in the College of Liberal Arts.

For more photos, click here.

CLA Class of 2021: Social Sciences – Watch here

Next up for C’21 were students who graduated in the social sciences.

It is your resilience in the face of a challenging year that gives us confidence that each of you is going to write a unique story as you leave Drew and make a place for yourself in the world outside,” said faculty speaker Sangay Mishra, Assistant Professor of Political Science.

For more photos, click here.

CLA Class of 2021: Arts & Humanities – Watch here

The Class of 2021 rounded out the celebrations by honoring students who graduated in the arts and humanities.

When everything seemed to fall apart, you kept going. In fact, more than continuing, your generation demanded changes to fix numerous problems in our society,” said faculty speaker Trevor Weston, Professor of Music.

For more photos, click here.

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