Until we’re together again, congratulations class of 2020

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May 8, 2020

The class of 2020 has dealt with circumstances unlike those faced by any other in the proud history of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University.

The ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic necessitated cancellation of in-person classes and events at CSB/SJU and many other colleges and universities across the nation in mid-March, forcing students to continue their studies online and prematurely cutting short their time on campus.

Students were unable to experience many of the traditions that are hallmarks of a senior spring at both schools. And even their commencement ceremonies –scheduled for this weekend – had to be postponed.

Plans remain to hold in-person commencement on both campuses when health and safety factors again permit such gatherings. But for now, class members will mark their graduation in locations spread out across the nation and world.

But though they may be physically separated, the scheduled student commencement speakers at both CSB and SJU say they and their classmates will never really be apart.

The bonds that connected them the past four years will always join them together.

“It’s hard knowing we didn’t get the goodbye we should have had,” CSB senior Lauren Simonet said. “But perhaps we’re the class that never got a goodbye because we weren’t supposed to say goodbye. This place is a million hellos, how are yous, catch you laters and see you soons – four years and three summers worth of never saying goodbye because we were always going to come back.

“It seems that this class didn’t get a goodbye because there are no goodbyes between us or this place. They say home isn’t a place, it’s a feeling. Once a Bennie or Johnnie, always a Bennie or Johnnie.”

SJU senior Owyn Ferguson said members of this year’s graduating class will be able to draw on their shared connections and unique experiences to make the larger world they now enter a better and stronger place.

“Now is the time when we need to accept and embrace the fact that we’ve been molded into vessels of change,” he said. “And the world needs us to channel that creativity, resilience and faith that is within us.

“Though we’re all disappointed that we’ve lost so much of the time that could’ve been spent together, let us also be grateful for the growth and friendships that we’ve experienced – a time of our lives that we’ll always be able to cherish.”