University of Vermont returns to traditional graduation ceremony

UVM graduation.
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 9:41 PM EDT|Updated: May. 23, 2022 at 7:48 AM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - More than 3,000 University of Vermont graduate and undergraduate students spent their Sunday celebrating their graduation.

It was the first traditional UVM graduation ceremony since the pandemic started.

It’s the moment students and parents have been waiting for.

“Time got pretty warped due to COVID for everyone, but I just feel more proud of me and my peers than anything else,” said Kelsey Deemer of Indianapolis, Indiana.

The class of 2022 spent more years of their college experience in a pandemic than not.

“I wouldn’t know college without the pandemic because we had freshman year which was totally normal but then things shifted so dramatically,” said Megan Richardson of Webster, New York.

Students have worn masks, taken online classes, gotten vaccinated multiple times, and say they’re proud of the way they’ve made it work.

“It really made the student community stronger, and it really highlighted how much the students take care of each other,” said Deemer.

Some note the pandemic changed their path, but not necessarily for the worse.

“I was supposed to study abroad and then everything shut down so it kind of sucked I didn’t get to do that whole thing, but then I interned and it was a great shift of plans,” said Nicholas Carstensen of Burlington.

“Whatever path you envisioned upon arriving at the university is likely not the journey you took. But as individuals and a UVM community, you asked, how can I make this better? And the solutions you find together was as creative as they were impressive,” UVM President Suresh Garimella said.

Now that four years of trials and tribulations, successes and achievements have come to a close. the class of 2022 will be remembered as a group that faced challenges and came out stronger on the other end.

“All the late-night studying, all the amazing classes I’ve had,” said Jordan Spindel of New York City.

“I wish you a life rich with adversity, adversity that will sculpt you, that will stretch you, that will test you, that will make you reach just a little bit farther,” said this year’s commencement speaker, adventurer Erik Weihenmayer.

Now, they’re ready to take on the world and have some pretty big plans to do so.

“This summer I’m going to be working at VPIRG. I’m going to be an assistant director,” said Richardson.

“The current plan is to take a seasonal job looking for birds who have been hit by windmills in Iowa,” said Spindel.

“I actually accepted a job in Boston working at a nonprofit for refugee resettlement and immigration,” said Carstensen.

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