It’s Official: Class of 2020 Celebrates Commencement
By: Mary Elizabeth DeAngelis
A happy class of 2020 and their proud families celebrated their long-awaited commencement ceremony at Davidson College on Sunday.
The usual commencement hugs, cheers and tears came with an extra dose of gratitude for the chance to be together two years after the COVID-19 pandemic quashed their original ceremony.
“We’re so happy and grateful to welcome you back,” President Carol E. Quillen told the returning graduates. “Our world is already benefitting from your leadership and service.”
Some 75 percent of the 484 graduates returned for the ceremony. College trustees raised $200,000 for a travel fund to pay expenses for those who needed it. They came from as far as Taiwan, and as close as Davidson.
Class of 2020 President Caroline Roddey joked that it was fun for everyone to revert to their old college selves.
“My excitement about being back with you all has only grown over these past two years,” Roddey said, adding that with the unusual circumstances preceding the event, “I will maintain that we are the best and most iconic graduating class that Davidson College has ever seen.”
She spoke of the challenges they’ve faced:
“I know I’m not the only one when I say the past two years were not the easiest entrance into adult life,” she said. “We lived it, we did it, and we’re here now.”
The graduates represented 40 states and 18 countries.
Some 273 received Latin honors; with 136 graduating cum laude and 132 as magna cum laude. Five students shared the First Honor of summa cum laude.
The class included nine John M. Belk Scholars. The Belk Scholarship is one of the nation’s most prestigious undergraduate scholarships. It covers tuition, fees, room and board and special travel grants.
The Belk Scholarship recognizes students for leadership, outstanding academic achievement, integrity, creativity, compassion and intellectual curiosity.
The class’s most popular majors were political science (72), economics (68), biology (66), and psychology (47).
At the ceremony’s conclusion, the crowd cheered for President Quillen. It was her last time presiding over commencement after 11 years as the college’s president. She’s stepping down in July and plans to spend the next year on sabbatical.
President-elect Douglas A. Hicks ’90 will take over the post on Aug. 1.