University of Vermont hosts 222nd commencement ceremony

Published: May. 21, 2023 at 11:15 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Families and friends of graduates flocked to Burlington from across the world to attend the University of Vermont’s 222nd commencement ceremony.

“I’m so excited! We had a great turnout today. The weather is perfect. Last year, it was like 90 degrees. Today it’s cool, there’s no rain, a lot of energy and excitement,” said Julia Walberg, a professor of communication sciences and disorders at UVM.

“I’m pretty excited about graduating. I’m from Vermont, so it’s been a really great four years, preceded by four years of high school, so it’s been a good path. I’m glad to move on, though,” said Remi Saveare, a microbiology major.

While the class of 2023 looks forward to their future, it wouldn’t be complete without taking a glance back at their not-so-average experience.

“I had a semester here at school, my first fall semester, and then the spring semester is when they sent us home,” said Leah Israel, an environmental science major.

“I think that makes it even more meaningful for us, you know, because we went through all of this our first year, the pandemic hit, it was really difficult and now we’re at the other end. We started it ‘normal’ and now we’re ending it normal,” said Vera Escaja-Heiss, who majored in psychology.

Every speaker addressed the hardships and resiliency of the class of 2023. Faculty and staff expressed the pride and confidence they had in their students.

“You have gone through difficulties and know how to persevere,” said Sethuraman Panchanathan, the director of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

“Well, they had a couple of tough years with the pandemic, but they came out on the other side on top. They have a lot of great ideas on how they want to proceed with all the information they learned here into the future, a lot of great jobs, a lot of internships lined up. So, they did a great job. They’re a great class of students,” said Walberg.

More than 3,000 folks got their degrees and are now off to new adventures.