Not many Kennedy Center graduates have had a graduation experience quite like the 2020 class—due to COVID-19. Rather than forego graduation altogether, Marni Hassan, Kennedy Center marketing coordinator, created a virtual convocation via Instagram. Messages were delivered by Renata Forste, Kennedy Center director, and Michael Hale, a retired CIA employee and Kennedy Center alumnus. Faculty shared their thoughts, congratulating students on their graduation and extending warm wishes for the future. Selected students also reflected on their time at the Kennedy Center.
“It took several weeks to plan, coordinate, and execute the event on Instagram and Facebook,” according to Hassan. “Graduates were given a shout-out by name while “Pomp and Circumstance” played, in addition to a virtual toss of their hats, and the chance to fill out some fun graduation-themed templates to commemorate the occasion and to share on their personal social media accounts.”
For many 2020 graduates, the virtual convocation was a memorable and uplifting experience. Courtney Scott stated that she “bawled through the whole thing. Thanks for doing that for us. Already missing the Kennedy Center dearly.”
Heather Belnap, European studies coordinator, remarked, “I’m incredibly impressed with the thoughtfulness of this celebration. Many thanks for doing this for our graduates!”
Hassan, along with Kennedy Center faculty and directors, wholeheartedly congratulate the graduating class of 2020 and wish them the best in their future endeavors.