Online party starts the celebration of 2020 graduates

Online party starts the celebration of 2020 graduates

Zia Sampson

May 9, 2020 was scheduled to be the commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. With the outbreak of the coronavirus, COVID-19, and the early departure from campus, the official ceremony has been pushed back to August. Still wanting to honor their seniors, the university has planned a few virtual events, starting with the “Party with the Pack.”

The Youtube livestream was hosted by Loyola Interim Provost Maria Calzada and began with a prayer led by the Rev. Justin Daffron, S.J., Vice President for Mission and Identity. President Tania Tetlow then gave her opening comments, congratulating the seniors and thanking them for their contributions to the Lyola community. She also acknowledged the different world that these graduates are going into.


“You are going out as graduates into a world literally upended. But I also know you will go there with the skills and the Jesuit courage, the ways you will be willing to question orthodoxy and push on systems and make the world a better place,” Tetlow said.

That opening set the tone for the rest of the celebration, a bittersweet combination of pride in the Wolf Pack and sadness that the celebration is not in person.

The next part of the celebration came from New Orleanians and former Loyola graduates, including Hota Kotb, broadcast journalist with NBC News and Maria Celeste Arraras, A ’82, author, and anchor of Telemundo’s “Al Rojo Vivo!”, who all offered congratulations and advice for the coming years.

John Batiste, musical director of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” composed “Loyola Class of 2020 Shake,” a jazzy piano song to honor the graduates.

Two members of the graduating class, Kevin Sullage, Jazz Studies major, and Summer Derrickson, Jazz Performance major, then gave a virtual performance of “Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans?”


Outgoing SGA President Jessamyn Reichmann Young then gave her address, praising her fellow graduates for overcoming challenges both small and large and accomplishing so much as a class. She also acknowledged how many alterations and sacrifices that the senior class had to make in the wake of the pandemic.

“I would like to informally applaud you all for your strength. This isn’t how we envisioned our final moments at Loyola… While we have lost these past eight weeks, we did not lose the three and a half years full of our friends and lifelong memories,” Young said.

This was followed by some words of wisdom from the deans of the various colleges, all of them reaffirming the congratulations and excitement for the commencement ceremony in the fall.

Tetlow then came back to give her closing words, congratulating the class of 2020.

“Now is our moment to go forth and celebrate,” Tetlow said.