Pacific University Recognizes COVID-Era Graduates in Special Commencement

It was a day long overdue on Sunday as members of Pacific University’s classes of 2020 and 2021 had the opportunity to cross the stage in celebration of their graduations.

The university hosted Special Commencement on Sunday, Aug. 14, offering recent alumni whose graduation ceremonies were disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic an opportunity to cross the stage surrounded by faculty, family and friends.

“We know this celebration today is not the equivalent of a traditional face-to-face ceremony at the time you completed your programs,” said keynote speaker and recently retired President Emerita Lesley Hallick. “But I personally made a promise to many of you that when we could do so safely, we would hold an event that would allow you to walk across the stage and be recognized in front of your family and friends of your tremendous achievements, so I’m especially pleased to be able to share this time with you.

“I don’t think I ever fail to choke up when I hear Pomp and Circumstance begin and I watch students come in, but I don’t think it’s ever been quite as powerful as it is today.”

Current President Jennifer Coyle added: “I’m declaring this ‘I’m So Happy To Call You All My Fellow Alumni Day.’ Maybe you are in a place where you aren’t exactly sure what comes next. Or maybe you are just positioning yourself for some big leaps to your next adventures. Here is my hope for you, no matter where you find yourself today: I hope you will find your bliss.”

Special Commencement 2022

Pacific University serves nearly 4,000 students in undergraduate, graduate and professional programs the arts and sciences, business, education, health professions, and optometry. 

Earlier in the weekend, Pacific celebrated its annual August Commencement, recognizing graduates from the College of Health Professions.

Participant portraits will be available at later this month.

Sunday, Aug. 14, 2022