Gettysburg Honors the Class of 2021 with 186th Commencement Ceremony

By Phoebe Doscher, Editor-in-Chief

The class of 2021 gathered at Memorial Field for the 186th Commencement on May 17, 2021.

Seniors processed through Penn Hall to honor the tradition of passing through the building at Opening Convocation and Commencement.

College Marshal and History Professor Michael J. Birkner ’72 began by leading the processional, Brittney Sedgewick ’21 sang the National Anthem, and Class President Emma Padrick ’21 posted the class flag.

Interim Chaplain Elizabeth Eckman gave an Invocation prayer to start the ceremony. President Bob Iuliano then gave opening remarks.

“You’ve made history here, and I’ll know you do the same when you set out into the world,” President Iuliano said. “Enjoy the special day, the pomp, the circumstance, the speeches, the celebration. You have certainly deserved every moment of it. Congratulations, class of 2021. We are so proud of you.”

Anna Cincotta ’21 gave the senior address. She recalled the changes over the past four years, and the resilience required of the class of 2021 to navigate the ever-changing world.

“We also have a responsibility to address this moment to use what we’ve learned here to do our best to change things, even if we’re afraid, and especially because we’re afraid,” Cincotta said. “Class of 2021: leave this place and take on new challenges, pursue the path that you’re passionate about, engage in the ongoing conversations about how to make this world one we’re proud of.”

Honorary degrees were conferred to Jean Driscoll, Marian Wright Edelman, and Michael Brown. Driscoll, an author, award-winning athlete, motivational speaker, and advocate for individuals with disabilities, earned a Doctor of Public Service. Edelman earned the Doctor of Laws for her work with the Children’s Defense Fund and commitment to ensuring political, social, and economic justice for all.

Senior Advisor and Co-founder of City Year Michael Brown received the Doctor of Humane Letters and gave the Commencement Address. He advised the class of 2021 to seek out joy in the world.

“Take your joy seriously, and pursue the serious work of repairing this broken world as joyously as possible,” Brown said. “You all have untold powers to improve the world and make our democracy flourish. You have indeed done good work, and you have so much good work left to do, and we couldn’t be prouder of you.”

Associate Provosts Jennifer Bloomquist and Darren Glass, and Vice Provost Jack Ryan presented the degree candidates for the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Music Education. Bachelor’s degrees will be officially conferred to the class of 2021 on Sunday, May 23.

President of the Alumni Board of Directors Brian Orsinger ’01 welcomed the class of 2021 to the Alumni Association. President Iuliano then gave a charge to the graduates.

“My charge to you today is simply this: Rise. Rise to this occasion of this defining moment. Rise to the challenges confronting our country and our planet … Rise to be the leaders and the voices of change that we know you can be,” President Iuliano said.

Bridget Kennedy ’21 sang the Alma Mater, and Chaplain Eckman closed out the ceremony with the Benediction.

On May 23, the College released a video with Commencement highlights and the official degree conferral by President Iuliano.

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 11:20 a.m. on May 24 to include the official degree conferral.

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Author: Phoebe Doscher

Phoebe Doscher ’22 is the News Editor for The Gettysburgian. She previously served as a staff writer, features section copy editor, and Assistant News Editor. Originally from Sandy Hook, CT, she is an English with a Writing Concentration and Theatre Arts double major. Aside from writing and editing, she studies voice at the Sunderman Conservatory of Music and can often be seen working on and offstage in the theatre department.

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