Together at last, for the last time.
This month, the University of Connecticut will hold its first traditional in-person commencement since 2019. Many beloved traditions set aside during the pandemic have been happily resumed. Nursing students and faculty in full regalia will once again process from Storrs Hall to the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts, led by bagpipes. Neag School of Education students will do the same, heading from the Gentry Building, escorted by two marshals and Jonathan XIV. Pharmacy Doctors will be formally hooded by their faculty once again. And every graduate from the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources will be handed a maize cord to wear as they walked.
Though much of this year’s commencement will be traditional, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences will break new ground: the class of 2022 is so large it will require three separate ceremonies—a first for CLAS—with more than 850 students participating in each. Each ceremony has a different student speaker, as well as a different student or group sing the national anthem.
The University will award degrees this May to 2,121 graduate students and 5,589 undergraduates. More than a quarter of the undergraduates earning degrees are the first in their families to attend college. That includes 33 sets of twins, one graduate who’s 18 years old, and one who’s 71 years old. The most popular majors for undergraduates, in order, are Psychological Sciences, Economics, Communication, Finance, and Allied Health Sciences.
And while 80% of the graduates are Connecticut natives, others have come from as far as Australia, a one-way journey of 10,458 miles.
David Crowe, the student commencement speaker for the School of Business, could be said to have traveled even farther, round trip, to become a Husky. Crowe grew up in Alabama and Chicago, then spent two years at the University of Kansas. He then joined the Army and served in the Middle East before returning to the US and eventually completing his degree at UConn.
Crowe gives credit to his classmates who survived and thrived during the pandemic, and predicted that having overcome that hardship would give his class great strength for the future. Crowe also thanks his professors. He says there was never a time at UConn when he asked for help and was denied.
“The quality of the education here is first-rate. I was never disappointed by anything that was taught, or by any professors,’’ Crowe says. “I was always impressed by their backgrounds and yet they were all so humble.’’