San Angelo, Texas — This weekend was a special one for faculty staff and students at Angelo State University. It was the university’s first in-person commencement since the start of the pandemic, with their largest class being able to clench their degrees this weekend as well.
“I don’t think anybody could have predicted what this last year would have looked like.” Don Topliff Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Angelo State University said.
From talks of shutting down Angelo State University to slowly opening back up, the college and its students made it to an in-person graduation.
“In January, what this would look like I couldn’t have predicted it, and we have just really worked so hard to get to this day, and it’s, it feels great to be here.” Topliff said.
This spring-class of 2021 is the largest class yet from Angelo State and the electricity felt in the Junell Center can be credited to the happiness from graduates for entering their next chapter, and conquering this past year,
“The provost will always tell everybody, please hold your applause into the last student and that doesn’t work at all. And that’s because of the excitement that’s in the room. Ronnie Hawkins Angelo State University President said.
Ceremonies were able to have parents, students and faculty all together, but they also had a special guest to offer opening statements. Ginger Karen Davis has worked for NASA for 30 years, from training astronauts to leading Mission Control to now working on getting to Mars. Davis, born in the West Texas region, is proud of the graduates.
“I cannot imagine going through something like that while I was in school, so these students are resilient. I want them to know that they can accomplish anything.” Ginger Kerrick Davis a regent for the Texas Tech University System said.
President Ronnie Hawkins has some lasting advice for those heading into their next chapter.
“Continue in learning. It’s not one of the things that you just put down as a result of getting a diploma, you’ve got to continue to learn and then continue to apply yourself.” Hawkins said.
While the ceremonies were in-person there were still modifications. One modification the university put in place is holding five ceremonies this spring rather than just three.