On Thursday, more than 5300 people around the world tuned in to celebrate the University of Sydney's graduating class of 2020.
While all University of Sydney graduation ceremonies are currently on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, to help students celebrate this significant milestone and to acknowledge their achievements the University hosted its first ever online celebration.
I want to congratulate our class of 2020; I could not be prouder.
Students who graduated or completed their degree in Semester 2 2019 and Semester 1 2020 were invited to attend the special event; included in that cohort was the University of Sydney’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence AC who completed a Diploma of Languages (Korean Studies) at the end of last year.
“I want to congratulate our class of 2020; I could not be prouder. This isn’t the occasion we had imagined but it is a celebration of your extraordinary achievements and a chance to reflect on your hard work, commitment and sacrifice,” Dr Spence said.
“The world is a very different place compared to when you first started your degree. We do face uncertainties, but I am optimistic that we can and will tackle any challenges together. I can’t wait to see what you all achieve.”
The event, live streamed from the University of Sydney’s Great Hall, was watched by people from 91 countries across the world including Brazil, Fiji, Germany, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, the United States and Vietnam.
Hosted by University of Sydney alumnus and Education Ambassador Eddie Woo, the class of 2020 heard messages from other notable alumni including former Justice of the High Court of Australia the Hon Michael Kirby AC, Deputy Chair of Diversity Council Australia Ming Long AM, artist Ben Quilty, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Nick Coatsworth, CEO and Founder of AIME Jack Manning Bancroft and CEO of Environmental Leadership Australia Anna Rose. NSW Premier and alumna Gladys Berejiklian also delivered a special video message congratulating the class of 2020.
You have achieved this significant milestone in your lives, perhaps at the most difficult time in each of our lives.
“You have demonstrated enormous resilience and heartfelt congratulations from one previous graduate of the University of Sydney to all of you. No matter your field of study, no matter your passion and direction in life, not only will you have the tools to achieve your potential but also have the grounding in receiving an education from one of the best tertiary institutions in the world,” Gladys Berejikilian said.
Chancellor Belinda Hutchinson AC opened the proceedings and Bachelor of Arts (Media & Communications) graduate Nicolette Preketes-Tardiani, along with classmates from the class of 2020, delivered the valedictory speech.
“For a while, the graduating class of 2020 was in a state of limbo as to whether we would have a ceremony at all, so to finally have a celebration, even if it’s not in the way we expected because it’s online, is not only a relief but a testament to how we’ve all had to adapt during the pandemic,” Nicolette said.
“I’m also hopeful that despite the uncertainty of this turning point in history, our graduating class will carry the lessons and friendships they formed during university into the real world, and remember that much like this year, opportunity often lies where you least expect it.”