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Bay Path Celebrates 2020 Graduates in Virtual Style

LONGMEADOW — On Oct. 17, the Bay Path University community celebrated what may be the most resilient graduates in recent history: the class of 2020. Although the celebration was viewed on screens instead of in person, and graduates were sent texts and Facebook comments of congratulations instead of hugs and high fives, it was an event to remember.

The ceremony — Bay Path’s 123rd — was held live on campus with a production team from Zasco Productions safely bringing the event to graduates, friends, and families all over the globe. A small group of Bay Path administrators, trustees, and faculty members donned their celebratory commencement regalia to bring the event to life, delivering encouraging messages of hope and resilience to the 1,010 graduating students.

Six graduating seniors from the class of 2020 kicked off the ceremony with a moving virtual rendition of the national anthem, followed by a special invocation of the Nipmuck Prayer delivered by Gentle Running Deer and Aprell Mumford (class of 2021), both members of the Mohawk tribe from the Iroquois Confederacy. Local dignitaries and faculty members gave virtual well wishes, reminding the graduates of what they had to overcome to make it to this moment.

“I want you to take a moment to celebrate this moment because it represents the absolute joy that comes from completing a journey that once seemed overwhelming. I want you to celebrate achieving something that is life-changing,” Bay Path President Sandra Doran said.

During the ceremony, two students received awards for their hard work and exemplary character. Traditional undergraduate student Lilly West received the Eagle Award for her positive attitude and community leadership on campus and in athletics, while maintaining a 3.5 or higher GPA. Karen Vecchitto, a non-traditional student at the American Women’s College, received the Pathfinder Award in honor of obtaining academic excellence of a GPA of 3.5 or higher while balancing her family life, career, and community-service responsibilities.

After a benediction from Fr. Christopher Waitekus of St. Mary’s Church in Longmeadow, the event ended with special remarks from the guests of honor — the graduates themselves. More than 50 graduates submitted videos thanking their families, friends, professors, and the Bay Path community for helping to make their success a reality. As one Bay Path graduate shared, “special thanks to my friends, family, and BPU faculty. Congratulations 2020, we finally did it! It’s time to conquer this world — be great, not average!”

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