From the Crucible of the Pandemic: Oxygen, Purpose and a “Weird” Commencement for the Classes of 2020
Like the Greatest Generation, the Classes of 2020 have been “formed and forged in a crucible of hardship,” as the Most Rev. Michael B. Curry ’75 told graduates in his Commencement address. Curry, the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, said: “Part of your most important formation as human beings has happened in the crucible not of a Great Depression, but of a great pandemic.”
After a year delay due to COVID-19, 2020 graduates gathered on campus for the weekend to celebrate, culminating in the ceremony on Sunday.
In his speech, Curry recalled his father telling him as a child: “The Lord didn’t put us here just to consume oxygen.” That line became a rhetorical touchstone and reminder to graduates, as Curry reflected on the ways hardship and sacrifice reveal what is important.
Commencement 2020: Curry ’75 to Deliver Address; Greenawalt ’66 and Jemison will also receive Honorary Degrees
Hobart and William Smith Commencement exercises for the Classes of 2020 will be held in-person and award the institution’s highest honor to three individuals whose profound personal and professional achievements intersect with critical aspects of the Colleges’ history. On Sunday, June 6, 2021, HWS will present honorary doctorates to the Presiding Bishop and Primate of the Episcopal Church, the Most Rev. Bishop Michael B. Curry ’75, who will deliver the 2020 Commencement address; philanthropist and advocate for increased female leadership Margaret “Peggy” Bokan Greenawalt ’66; and artist, activist and Historic Site Manager of Ganondagan State Historic Site G. Peter Jemison.
Honorary Class Members
President Jacobsen and Professor Drennen Elected Honorary Class Members
In keeping with annual traditions, Hobart and William Smith seniors have named two honorary members of the Classes of 2020: HWS President Joyce P. Jacobsen and Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies and chair of the Entrepreneurial Studies program Thomas Drennen.