(WBRE/WYOU) — Two local universities celebrated the class of 2020 Saturday. East Stroudsburg University and Penn State had thousands of students graduating a unique way.
Typically, students would have gathered on campus to walk across the stage but with the ongoing pandemic, their commencement ceremony was held virtually. East Stroudsburg University sent its 1,100 graduates off with music and words of encouragement as part of its virtual graduation.
“Even though it’s not how I imagined it, it’s not what I envisioned at the end of my road, the sentiment and the accomplishment is still there,” Leila Bouchekouk, a graduate of East Stroudsburg University, told Eyewitness News.
Bouchekouk graduated with a chemistry degree Saturday. She also received the university’s “Leadership and Service Award”, one of the highest non-academic honors.
“I can’t explain how much it means to me to get it with Shelby Jimcosky,” Bouchekouk said. “We spoke up a lot this year as student government president. It was not easy.”
On the same day, Penn State University celebrated more than 14,000 students with a virtual commencement ceremony. University President Dr. Eric Barron gave his remarks to students, family and friends tuning in.
“This is just the first step in the well earned recognition of the class of 2020,” Barron said.
Alumni and fans of Penn State also took a moment to shake their well wishes to the class of 2020.
“Big congratulations on graduating. I know it didn’t finish out how everyone wanted it to with the time that we have right now, but congratulations to all of you,” Trace McSorley, PSU class of 2018, said.
“Hey Penn State! Just want to say congratulations on graduating,” Joe Jonas added. “This is a huge milestone. You’re going to go and change the world. Love you guys so much!”
Per student request, both universities plan to hold a ceremony where students will be able to walk across the stage at a later date.