UMFK celebrates graduates with virtual ceremony

FORT KENT, Maine — University of Maine at Fort Kent officials made the best of the unexpected interruption into commencement ceremony plans for the graduating Class of 2020 due to COVID-19.

Administrators canceled all in-person University of Maine campus commencements due to the virus, so on Saturday, UMFK held a special video commencement ceremony broadcast online.

At the opening of the virtual ceremony, UMS Chancellor Dannel Malloy congratulated the graduates.

Following Malloy’s greeting, UMFK interim president Dr. Tex Boggs shared his admiration for the resilience and determination of the graduating class.

“It has been my experience throughout my lifetime that the greater the challenges encountered when pursuing a goal, the greater the satisfaction when a goal is attained,” Boggs said in the video. “Despite the uncertainties, the disruptions and your fear of the unknown, you chose to persevere. I am proud of each and every one of you for what you have achieved.”

The UMFK resident life and leadership team congratulates the Class of 2020 during a virtual graduation ceremony on Saturday. (Courtesy of UMFK)

Senior Class President Glenroy Osbourne expressed appreciation for all of the parents, guardians, caregivers and friends.

“If it weren’t for them, we may have forgotten what is important,” he said. “They have made many sacrifices to ensure that we got the education that they may have never had.”

Osbourne encouraged his classmates to “strive to be better individuals and help others.” 

Although the graduates could not participate in the ceremony in person, photos of diplomas for each graduate were individually displayed on the screen as an announcer read the names. 

Graduate Calvin Thomas Johnson, who attended the virtual ceremony, earned a Bachelor of Science in Computer Applications degree and also received the 2020 Hanssler Prize, Student Senate Outstanding Senior Award and the Computer Applications Award.

“Although I attended the virtual ceremony, I feel that I only received a taste of success. 

“It was amazing to see how the community still shows that they care,” Johnson said. “I am extremely honored and proud to officially be a graduate of UMFK.” .

UMFK conferred 211 bachelor’s degrees and 20 associate’s degrees upon students from eight different countries and 14 different states. Seventy-eight percent of the graduates earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing.

Following the degree conferral, Osbourne was shown moving the tassel on his graduation cap. 

The video next featured clips of UMFK administrators, faculty and staff, as well as town officials and other community members congratulating the UMFK Class of 2020. 

Finally, the video included photos of students from throughout their time at UMFK.

 UMFK’s 2020 graduating class is welcome to return to march in a joint 2020/2021 commencement next May.

Saturday’s video commencement can be viewed online at the UMFK website.

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