From the Desk of William Stackman, Vice Provost for Student Affairs

This week is all about celebrating the class of 2020. Under normal circumstances, I might be struggling a little to find a novel way to tell our graduates how proud I am of them. There are only so many ways to tell someone that the future is theirs.

The class of 2020 is different, of course. This year’s graduates faced the kind of challenges that haven’t been seen for a generation, at least.

Collage of nine staffers from Student Affairs spelling out the messge "You Did It! Congrats Mizzou Grads Class of 2020!"

Look at where we are today. There wasn’t a senior sendoff on Francis Quadrangle. We have no in-seat commencement ceremonies. There won’t be nearly as many hugs.

That’s bound to disappoint thousands of graduates and their families. You have been looking forward to this day for years and years, since even before you first put on your black and gold.

I share your disappointment. This was going to be my first commencement at Mizzou in 40 years. I was looking forward to attending your ceremonies, watching you cross that stage and seeing you toss your caps in the air. I wanted to see that Tiger Prowl.

But I thought about it a while and I realized something: The disappointment I felt about missing the traditional commencement ceremonies is no match for the pride I feel in what you have managed in these last few months. I am flat out amazed at what you have done.

Earlier this spring, just when you thought the end was in sight, life threw one last daunting challenge in your way. You had to leave campus, your in-seat classes, your friends. You were uprooted just when, by all rights, you should have been able to enjoy the moment a little.

But that didn’t stop you. How could it? You’re Tigers, after all. You are tough and smart and strong. The way you have weathered this storm sets a completely new standard for what it means to be #MizzouMade.

Members of the class of 2020 – seniors, graduate student and professional students – you wear a unique badge of honor. I want you to feel tremendous pride in yourselves, today and every day after. As the old song says, here’s a health to thee.

 

Join us in recognizing the accomplishments of the Class of 2020! You are invited to show your support for our grads with a special #MizzouMade virtual event and 24-hour social media blitz of congratulations, messages, video greetings and well wishes. Visit commencement.missouri.edu to get started and discover fun ways to celebrate this very special occasion! Mark your calendar for the celebration kickoff on May 15 at 2 p.m.