In-Person Commencement Returns for Graduating Class of 2021
"I am so proud of each and every one of you today. You struggled, you put in long hours... you learned how to exercise your profession. And now you are ready".
Kent State University President Dr. Todd Diacon addressed the College of Podiatric Medicine (CPM) graduating class of 2021 on Friday, May 20 at what was the first in-person CPM commencement ceremony since 2019. Nearly all 91 new Doctors of Podiatric Medicine were in attendance to celebrate the momentous occasion under an open-air tent on the Kent Student Green at the Kent Campus, surrounded by their families and colleagues. A live-stream ceremony was also available to those who were unable to attend. The gravity and privilege of a formal, in-person commencement was certainly not lost on the new graduates. Last year, due to COVID-19 and the forced cancelation of gatherings everywhere, CPM worked hard to provide a virtual commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020, with hopes of gathering again in the future to celebrate traditionally.
It was only a month before their special day that the Class of 2021 learned that not only would they be able to accept their new diploma from the hands of Dean Allan M. Boike, but that their friends and family could be there with them. In fact, the atypical circumstances of the ceremony alowed families to play an even larger role in their loved ones' big moment. Where CPM faculty are traditionally tasked with the formal hooding of the new doctors, this year, seated with their families, graduates were able to choose a "special hooder" to do the honor. The walk to claim each diploma became a victorious jaunt, with many grads grabbing their young children to accompany them to the stage.
Commencement for CPM's new Doctors of Podiatric Medicine is a grand occasion, year after year. On the sunny afternoon of May 20th, however, the energy from the Class of 2021, following a year of unprecedented hardship, was palpable. It marked not just the end of their podiatric medical education with CPM, but the beginning of lighter, promising days ahead.