166th & 167th commencements grace Taylor Field

By Claire Crittendon – Editor-in-Chief

After turning their tassels, the undergraduate class of 2020 wait to greet their family and friends.
Photo courtesy of Avery Stankus

On May 14 and 15, three in-person commencement ceremonies were held to honor the Lasell classes of 2020 and 2021 at both the graduate and undergraduate levels.

Attendees at all ceremonies were greeted with speeches from President Michael Alexander and keynote speaker Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. James Muller, and a prayer from Reverend Thomas Sullivan.

Graduates were allowed to bring two guests with them as to comply with state social distancing regulations.

Kick starting the events at 5 p.m. on Friday was the graduate commencement for students who successfully completed their master’s degree requirements in 2020 and 2021.

“The class of 2020 is grateful to be here today,” said one graduate student speaker, Nancy Snow (‘20). “Life’s changes demand resiliency.”

The undergraduate class of 2020 brought the field back to life at 10 a.m. the next day. Originally, the prospect of a virtual graduation was brought up for class of 2020 last spring. However, the community response was largely opposed to this, made clear by the hashtag “#LULet2020Walk” which grew to a petition and Lasell Community TV segment all asking senior management to hold off on any sort of ceremony until it was safe for these seniors to get their degrees in person.

Last to turn their tassels was the undergraduate class of 2021 at 3 p.m. Sports management student Isabella Raffone (‘21) addressed the crowd.

“The day has finally come where we can say, ‘we did it,’” said Raffone to a sea of her peers.

Isabella Raffone (‘21) addressing the crowd at the 2021 undergraduate commencement.
Photo by Claire Crittendon

Member of the undergraduate class of 2021 and Lasell Chair recipient Alanis Perez-Rivera was both excited and grateful for her in-person graduation. “We are lucky to be somewhere where we have had ample access to vaccines, and a lot of people at commencement were already fully vaccinated,” said Perez-Rivera. “Lasell has really made an effort to keep us safe throughout the pandemic, and commencement was so exception. It was an absolutely beautiful day and I am so glad both class of 2020 & 2021 were able to celebrate their accomplishment safely and in person.”

Assistant professor of art and graphic design Deborah Baldizar said these ceremonies were “a beautiful celebration of a talented, hard-working, passionate group of students. I know they will go out in the world and do amazing things.”

Assistant Vice President of Administration and Operations Diane Parker spearheaded the organization of these events, joined by a team of around 60 student, staff and faculty volunteers.

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