After a year made extraordinary by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Duquesne University will honor members of its class of 2021 with a two-part approach to commencement that will include both virtual and in-person components.
"After working diligently together to earn a horizon-expanding education from Duquesne University, we're thrilled to be able to honor our May 2021 graduates in person with multiple diploma recognition ceremonies, sized and designed so that safety practices will be in place," Duquesne President Ken Gormley said. "I'm grateful to our University team for their creative thinking and careful planning. I'm doubly grateful to our students for their dedication and determination that got us safely to the finish line."
On Thursday, May 6, a 5 p.m. virtual Baccalaureate Mass will be followed by a virtual commencement ceremony for all graduates at 7 p.m., during which Gormley will address the class of 2021. He also will present an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Mary Lou Jennings, who recently retired as executive director of the Sister Thea Bowman Black Catholic Educational Foundation after more than 30 years of service.
Student representatives of the graduate and undergraduate classes will speak during the online ceremony, school deans will share remarks and a slide show will recognize students and their accomplishments. The recorded ceremony will mark the conferral of degrees for graduates.
A variety of smaller, in-person, individual degree-recognition ceremonies and observances will be held at Arthur J. Rooney Field, the UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse and PPG Paints Arena on Thursday, May 6, Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8.
These in-person events are limited to two guests for each graduating student and tickets are required for admittance. Masking, social distancing and contact protocols will be in place. Each event will be live-streamed and available online, along with a complete schedule, on the commencement website.