What a Weekend: Commencement Highlights and A Hearty Thank You
Posted on May 23, 2018
Just over a week ago, more than 19,000 students graduated from SNHU and nearly 6,000 walked at four ceremonies over two days in Manchester, New Hampshire. Collectively, our graduates traveled more than 3.8 million miles to attend Commencement and receive their hard-earned diplomas.
It was emotional for our students and their families and it was often emotional for us. As I reflect on the weekend, I wanted to share some highlights for me:
- When we managed to FaceTime in a service member who was supposed to be walking with his wife but couldn’t attend Commencement due to training commitments. Thanks to technology, Tyler White joined the ceremony virtually – via video chat – and “walked” across the stage with his wife, Alexandra, 5,000 miles apart. He received a standing ovation and their story was featured on Inside Edition, Fox and Friends, and others. Check out the clip:
- The woman I found silently crying in the tunnel, who told me her story and how moved she was that she was finally here after a career, raising a son as a single mother, and coming back to school later in her life. Her comment to me: “I didn’t need to do this for my work. I needed to do it for me.”
- The graduate who leaned into me as I shook his hand and whispered, “SNHU saved my life.”
- Seeing the number of graduates wearing military cords and the diversity of the students we serve.
- Meeting little kids whose fathers or mothers were graduating. Given that it was Mother’s Day, I asked the graduates who were mothers to stand up and was struck by their number.
- The large number of SNHU
employees, over 500, who finished a degree with us, taking advantage of one of the best benefits we offer.
My list could go on. If anyone questions the impact we have on people’s lives, they need only attend an SNHU Commencement to be convinced.
Equally impressive was the energy and enthusiasm displayed by the over 700 staff members working this weekend, as cheerful and supportive of graduate number 6,000 as they were for the first to enter the Arena. It takes more than a village to graduate 6,000 people over two days and four ceremonies. It takes a veritable army and this was a joyous army of people taking time on their weekend and the Mother’s Day holiday to live our mission.
There are many who took leadership roles in making the event a success; the Commencement and Communications team, the Registrar’s Office, Operations, Student Success, and the Alumni Office. If I start listing I will inevitably leave someone out, so I will instead offer my hearty thanks to everyone. I could not be more proud to be your colleague.