Commencement is On: A Christmas Walk of Hope & Joy!
University of St. Thomas plans to celebrate undergraduates and graduates in an innovative commencement ceremony that enables students and their families to experience this special rite of passage and stay safe.
The University is actively planning this commencement event for its 519 undergraduates and 590 graduates including 31 Ed.D in Leadership students. These are students who graduated in Dec. 2019, spring 2020, summer I and II 2020 and fall 2020. An RSVP is required to secure each student’s time slot.
Magical Place during COVID Times
During the early evening and twilight on the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13, students will use assigned time slots to line up in their cars on Yoakum Blvd. next to the Doherty Library. On this site a stage with a clear tent, decorated with lights and Christmas trees will await. As their name is called, each graduate will walk across the stage, and stop for a photograph with UST President Dr. Richard Ludwick, UST Board Chair Curtis Huff and Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Chris Evans, who will be represented through the wizardry of technology. The keepsake photo will be sent to the graduate. Also, each student will be filmed walking across the stage and will receive a special alumni gift once they leave the stage.
Graduates may take their own photos with their families in a safe zone near the tent and then retrace their steps and move down the boulevard to allow the next happy graduates to have the same experience. Gingerbread, music and more will add to the festivities.
The Basilian Fathers will hold a virtual Baccalaureate Mass on Friday, December 11, live-streamed at 7 p.m., and video greetings from each campus department and faculty members will be gathered and shared with graduates.
Yoakum Boulevard will be ablaze with red and white Christmas lights in the 50+ oak trees that line the area from West Alabama to Colquitt. Also, Christmas trees will dot the esplanades.
Graduates can still go by the University Bookstore to purchase a cap and gown for this event.
A special Commencement video will include Ceremonial Addresses from UST Chaplain Fr. Paul English, CSB, Dr. Christopher Evans, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Richard Ludwick, UST President, Nadin Fallah, 2019-2020 Student Body President, and more. Video of graduates’ Walk of Hope and Joy across the stage will end the production, and the link will be shared with the UST community.
This year’s Keynote Speaker is Dean and Vice Chancellor of Duke University School of Medicine, Dr. Mary Klotman, who will speak on the value of service through science. Dr. Klotman is a renowned infectious diseases specialist who served as a key medical contributor during the AIDS epidemic.
Celebration Boxes Delivered
This fall, University leadership mailed beautiful boxes to the homes of fall 2019, spring and summer 2020 graduates to celebrate their scholastic achievements. The box included letters of congratulations from the President and the Alumni Association along with honor cords and gift items.
Fall 2020 graduates who want to walk this December may also walk in May 2021.
Watch for details on the University website at www.stthom.edu/commencement