Celebrating our seniors
Nearly 2,000 viewers tuned in on Sunday, May 24, to celebrate the St. Olaf Class of 2020. A livestream video was shared on the college website with interactive comments that enabled many friends and family to share their appreciation for Ole seniors at a distance.
Speakers included President David Anderson ‘74, Professor of Music and Conductor of the St. Olaf Orchestra Steven Amundson, Associate Professor of Political Science Chris Chapp, Athletic Director Ryan Bowles, and Dean of Students Rosalyn Eaton ’87.
“You’ve grown community in a deep and meaningful way,” Chapp said in his address. “The bonds and bridges are going to last forever. St. Olaf is a special place, and I think these community bonds are more deeply felt here than at other places.”
A surprise guest speaker was also part of the online celebration. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, who previously delivered a charge to the Class of 2017 during their commencement, shared her hopes and well-wishes for the St. Olaf Class of 2020.
You are graduating from a first-class institution at a challenging time.U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
“You are graduating from a first-class institution at a challenging time,” Klobuchar said. “Challenging because of economic and international and political upheaval — and yes, the pandemic. But I know somewhere out there are the graduates with the solutions. You will give us the technological innovations and the cures, the passion for care-taking, the passion for new ideas. I have no doubt you’re prepared for this.”
Finalists for the role of Class of 2020 Senior Speaker Neetij Krishnan ’20, Alexis Valeriano ’20, and Izzy Istephanous ’20 shared their memories and positive messages as well.
Ulises Jovel ’20 also delivered a short address during the virtual celebration. He is the official Class of 2020 Senior Speaker and will present a complete message to the class during their in-person commencement ceremony next year.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has prevented families from gathering on the Hill this spring, an official in-person commencement ceremony is currently being planned for Spring 2021. Details of that event are yet to be finalized. At that time, our 2020 graduates will receive all the rites of passage they expected to enjoy this spring, including signing Old Main Tower, crossing the stage in their cap and gown, celebrating with friends and family, and bringing home commemorative programs.
Immediately following the virtual celebration, an episode of our digital concert series “Sounds from St. Olaf: Celebration” was played, featuring songs that were recently performed by the St. Olaf Band, St. Olaf Choir, and St. Olaf Orchestra.