To be sure, it was nothing like usual, but through a series of virtual events over this past weekend Longwood honored both undergraduate and graduate student members of the Class of 2020. And on Saturday, President Taylor Reveley IV arranged in partnership with the undergraduate Class of 2020 to welcome small groups of graduates and families who had long planned to be in town for the weekend, for a series of personal recognition events at his home outdoors at Longwood House.
Degrees were officially conferred on the Class of 2020 last May, but over the weekend Longwood shared video events to celebrate and mark the occasion. For graduate students, there was a virtual ceremony in which family members watching at home were invited to complete the ceremonial hooding of graduate gowns. In the spirit of a ceremony centered on family, Taylor Reveley III — president emeritus of William & Mary and father of Longwood’s President Reveley — delivered recorded remarks for the graduate ceremony and was hooded by his son President Reveley for an honorary doctoral degree.
The traditional large-scale undergraduate commencement ceremony that had been scheduled for Wheeler Mall on Oct. 10 was canceled early this semester. For families who had longstanding plans to travel to Farmville to celebrate the milestone, President Reveley and his office worked with class members to organize a series of recognition events — limited to 15 students at a time and two family members — where undergraduates could mark the moment and hear their names called. President Reveley also met with families for commemorative photos as well.
A virtual event for undergraduates featured remarks from student leaders. “Although we highlight the past memories and reflect, let us not think our journey is over,” said Senior Class President Emma Giambalvo ’20. “It’s just beginning. We will transition from sporting blue and white to our new uniforms, representative of our passions, careers and new professions. The path we are beginning to walk on is uncertain, but...one thing I am certain of, however, is my confidence in my studies and what Longwood was able to expose me to.”
“Life is not about being perfect, it’s about being dependable,” said SGA President Haleigh Pannell ‘20. “Someone that can be relied on, counted on, leaned on. Someone that when you feel like the sky is falling and nothing is going your way, they’ll offer the comfort and support that makes you feel like you can make it through. So my advice to you, Longwood’s Class of 2020, is to focus on being the most faithful version of yourself, and you won’t be disappointed.”