UE Class of 2020 gets graduation ceremony (finally)

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – It was a big night for many University of Evansville graduates who finally got to walk across that stage to get their diploma.

Last year’s 2020 commencement ceremony was canceled due to the pandemic. But on Friday night, graduates got their pomp and circumstance at the Ford Center.

After a very trying year, there were lots of smiling faces tonight for good reason. Many of these graduates saying better late than never.

Despite her official graduation ceremony being tonight, Aspen Luther has already been out in the real world as a teacher. She took the day off to be here with her proud family who traveled from Corydon.

“It’s definitely interesting to tell my kids that I’m graduating today. And they’re all seniors, and they’re just kind of looking at me, like, how’d you get this job if you haven’t graduated yet? You know, so it’s, it’s very interesting. I’m very excited about It,” said Luther.

There were lots of happy reunions among peers who never got a chance for some closure of the 2020 school year.

“I didn’t get to say goodbye to all my kids I was with every day for 15 weeks or whatever. And then all my friends on top of that no more going out to dinners and things like that. And just being locked up was heartbreaking,” Luther said.

But tonight – they had their chance.

“We were just really glad to offer this tonight for them, give them a chance to come back to evansville, and be here with their friends and their former, you know, their peers and to be able to graduate,” said Julie Bryant, University Relations Coordinator for UE.

“I’m pretty happy to to be able to finally do this because for years I think this is something worth celebrating the fact that you know, I can get through this I can get the education that I came here for. So I’m pretty happy,” Oti Oritsejafor said.

Not to mention those who were even happier just to witness their loved ones’ big day.

“Super proud of them. You know, I’m saying he’s worked super hard for years, finally secured a full time job after it,” said Oti’s cousin Emmanuel Ejutse.

“She’s worked very, very, hard very hard. Always got good grades, Dean’s Lists, the whole time

I’m surprised all the time over. She passed me by like she might not really be our kid. We drive school buses. He’s a farmer,” said Tom and Heather Luther.

“No, I’m just really excited to finally be able to walk across the stage after all the craziness of 2020,” said Aspen Luther.

Face masks were required tonight and seating was in pods of two.  And this year’s UE graduates of 2021, will go through their pomp and circumstance tomorrow.   

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