May 10, 2020, was meant to be a special day for the 145 members of the Class of 2020. They had planned to attend a Commencement Ceremony along with their proud parents, friends, and family; however, due to COVID 19, celebrations had to be modified. Despite social distancing restrictions, the faculty and staff, donned in cap and gown, found a creative way to honor the class. They had fun walking and driving in a celebratory parade around the campus, honking horns and waving hands. Once the degrees were conferred in the middle of campus, faculty and staff congratulated the virtual graduates by throwing their caps in the air.
As typical of past classes, the Class of 2020 features a diverse and accomplished group of graduates. Thirty-four percent of the class are the first in their family to graduate. Seventy percent participated in service projects during their time at Southwestern Adventist University. About a fourth of graduates are planning to pursue a graduate degree while two-thirds will be launching their careers. The departments of Nursing, Education & Psychology, and Religion are graduating the three largest groups of students with 36, 35, and 16 respectively. The Class of 2020 represents members from across the United States as well as from Belize, The Bahamas, Honduras, and Mexico.
“On behalf of the faculty and staff, we are proud of each member of the Class of 2020,” said President Ken Shaw. “Their accomplishments will be life-changing; many more opportunities will come to them as a result. We trust that our tagline of knowledge, faith, and service has been imprinted on their hearts so they will be life-long learners, walk faithfully by trusting in God, and be of service in the communities where they live.
On August 9, the Class of 2020 will get their chance to celebrate together at an in-person Commencement Ceremony. Buster Swoopes, Assistant Professor for Religion, will present the Commencement address.
"I cannot wait to celebrate our accomplishments together as a family on August 9,” shared Zoya Thompson, Senior Class President. “The encouragement shared through the celebration video was heart touching and makes me proud to be a graduate of SWAU!”
To watch the graduation video released on May 10, click here. To stay up to date on graduation plans, click here.
Cover Photo Courtesy of the Cleburne Times-Review