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Commencement 2020

Class of 2020 Graduates

Thomas Katsouleas President University of Connecticut

Dear Friends:

Even in the best of circumstances, graduation is always a time of mixed emotions. On one hand, there is the pride, excitement, and immeasurable hope that come with the culmination of years of effort and success at the University of Connecticut.

That is true this year as well, but clearly there is the recognition that this year is different. For the first time since 1914, the University of Connecticut is conferring its graduate and undergraduate degrees without our traditional ceremonies.

This year our University, our state, our nation, and indeed our world have faced unprecedented difficulties. But with that have also come opportunities. Opportunities to be at home with our most nuclear families or friends, to reflect on being connected globally and socially but not physically, and to consider how what we have learned applies to a world far different than it was just a few months ago. As the Greek Stoic philosopher Epictetus observed, “Difficulties show us who we are.” And now, as you go onward to the next stage of your journey, you have the opportunity to show what you have become in your time at UConn.

Remember that the purpose of higher education is not confined to academic achievement; it is also intended to draw from within (to educe if you will) those essential qualities that make each of us an engaged, fully-formed individual – and a good citizen. I know each of you will exemplify these qualities every day as you go forward into the rest of your professional lives.

This is truly a special class that will go on to achieve great things. Among your classmates are the University’s first Rhodes Scholar, the largest number of Goldwater scholars in our history, and outstanding student leaders on issues from climate action to racial justice to mental health. I fully expect to read about you being just as transformational in your post-collegiate endeavors, and maybe if I’m lucky enough to stay in touch, to hear about those achievements in person.

I am truly sorry to not have the opportunity to celebrate with you in person in your final year and my first year at UConn, but the fact that you are moving on and I am not is, I trust, a sign of success for us both. I hope you will always carry with you the fondest memories of your days here at the University of Connecticut. Remember: you are students today, but Huskies forever.

Congratulations and very best wishes,

Thomas Katsouleas
President
University of Connecticut

Graduating Class (By School and College)