Over 2,700 Grads Honored in Worldwide Campus Virtual Commencement
On Saturday, Dec. 5, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus hosted a first-ever Virtual Commencement Ceremony to celebrate all graduates from spring, summer and fall 2020. A total of 2,736 students received degrees, including 352 associate degrees, 1,379 bachelor degrees and 1,005 master degrees.
Traditionally, Worldwide Campus fall commencement ceremonies take place around the globe, including Daytona Beach and Pensacola, Florida; Frankfurt, Germany; San Diego, California; Seattle, Washington; Dallas, Texas; Washington D.C.; and Okinawa, Japan.
This year, all 2020 graduates were recognized during the virtual ceremony by name, degree, college and any academic honors they received, accompanied by an individualized graduation slide.
Addressing an audience of Eagles around the world, Worldwide Chancellor Dr. John R. Watret spoke of the ceremony’s transition this year to a virtual platform due to the Covid-19 pandemic, and how that change mirrored challenges the graduates faced throughout their coursework.
“As Embry-Riddle graduates, you are all masters of connection,” he said. “Completing your degree was not accomplished by attending classes together in a single location. You worked from your home offices, living rooms and kitchen tables. You worked from military bases, deployment and from aircraft carriers. You connected. And you succeeded.”
The online commencement celebration included the time-honored elements of an in-person graduation ceremony at Embry-Riddle, including the ROTC’s presentation of colors, singing of the national anthem, an invocation and messages from Embry-Riddle President P. Barry Butler and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Dr. Lon Moeller.
“You have inspired your family, your friends and your colleagues through your tenacity, demonstrating that once you can see firsthand that something is possible, it becomes a lot more probable,” Dr. Butler said, adding that each graduate represents “possibility to the people around you.”
Moeller spoke of aviation pioneer Wilbur Wright, who wrote a message about adversity in one of his journals: “No bird ever soared in a calm.” Moeller reminded each graduate that “this has not been an easy journey for you, particularly in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. Your educational journey has, however, been a successful one, and has resulted in something very special — a degree from Embry-Riddle.”
Ms. Regina Spellman, senior project manager in the Exploration Ground Systems Program at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida was the keynote speaker for the virtual commencement. At KSC, she is responsible for the new design, development, fabrication and construction of historic Launch Pad 39B, which had been used for Apollo and Space Shuttle missions in the past.
Spellman spoke of her work supporting the decade’s-long development phase at KSC, where NASA has transformed the historic facilities in preparation for returning to the moon by 2024. She congratulated graduates and acknowledged the dramatic change in all our lives due to the pandemic, noting that, “In a year where far too many of us have felt isolation and difficulties like never before, this day is truly a day to celebrate.”
She also shared some of the most valuable lessons she has learned with the virtual audience, saying, “We have to admit our mistakes and put our focus on correcting them and learning from them. You are not in it alone … one thing we have all witnessed this year is how connected we all are.” She reminded the graduates to “be your authentic self,” to keep learning and improving, and finally, “when you put your name on something, it should mean something.”
The Worldwide Campus commencement program is available online, and recordings of the ceremony for each college are listed as follows:
Photos and videos shared by graduates, using the #ERAU2020Grad hashtag, can also be viewed on Embry-Riddle’s Virtual Commencement Celebration website. You can also find photos and videos of all the virtual celebrations on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Embry-Riddle’s Worldwide Campus boasts over 135 locations around the globe and 44 different degree programs, from associates to Ph.D. Embry-Riddle’s online bachelor’s degree programs are ranked second best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report, and have been ranked in the top five nationwide more than any other university, solidifying Worldwide’s place as an authority in online learning.
Posted In: Institutional News