• Lynda Cohen

Stockton Class of 2020 has virtual graduation

Updated: May 18

The confetti was virtual and the well-wishes pre-recorded.

But Stockton University’s Class of 2020 had a graduation ceremony of sorts Friday.

The website went live at noon, when commencement would have begun at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall.

“We would love to congratulate each and every one of you, to present your degrees in person, to shake your hands,” President Harvey Kesselman in a taped address. “But as you know, the current global health crisis has presented considerable challenges to our time-honored traditions of commencement.

The page had 6,000 views within the first two hours.

The COVID-19 crisis closed some things, but it also opened up the minds and imaginations of some students. Kesselman recognized two students who have reached out to help during the crisis. Graduate student Gavin Rozzi, of Lacey Township, printed 3-D masks for essential workers, while Social Work major Ashley Berenato of Hammonton led a project by the Gerontology Club to make cards for residents in nursing homes who could not have visitors. “Let not the challenges we face keep you from fulfilling the very charge that brought you to Stockton,” Kesselman said. “I say this without reservation and with every confidence because I believe in you.” Stockton Board of Trustees Chairman Leo Schoffer congratulated the graduates and noted that every generation has been faced with challenges. He thanked them for their dedication in rising to the challenge of completing their degrees. “This dedication will serve you well as you move forward to the next stop in your journey,” he said. A virtual shout-out video included planned keynote speaker, state Secretary of Higher Education Zakiya Smith-Ellis. “I know the things that are going on right now have changed the way we had planned on celebrating your accomplishments,” Smith-Ellis said. “But we should not let that get in the way of recognizing all your academic achievements. The Class of 2020 is destined for greatness.” A formal in-person commencement will be held at a later date. Graduates will receive an invitation through their Stockton email.



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