We all love this time of year, when we see the joy on our graduates’ faces. This year, we get double the joy.

We will welcome back and honor the Class of 2020 today at an in-person Commencement ceremony at Weidner Field in downtown Colorado Springs. This class saw their senior year on campus cut short, as the COVID-19 pandemic locked down much of the world starting at spring break last year.

We did all we could to celebrate them last year, with online Honors Convocation, video-reel messages of congratulations from faculty, staff, and Colorado elected officials, and gift boxes with their diploma, a mortarboard, tassel, personal notes from academic departments, a letter from former President Jill Tiefenthaler, and gifts.

While they appreciated those gestures, they also told us loud and clear that they wanted an in-person Commencement, with all of the ceremony, when that was possible. Today, we will make good on that promise.

Richard Lariviere

Richard Lariviere, Ph.D. will be the Class of 2020 Commencement speaker. He is the former president and CEO of the Field Museum in Chicago. Before joining the Field Museum, Lariviere was president of the University of Oregon from July 2009  through November 2011. There, he cultivated the university’s growing reputation for innovation in the classroom and in research, sharpening the focus on sustainability and international partnerships.

The Class of 2020’s motto is “Hindsight is 2020.” This weekend they will look back and reminisce with classmates and faculty, and we will all look forward with them to a future without the perils of a pandemic, where they will bring their leadership, scholarship, creativity, and heart.

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