Hail to Thee! Class of 2020

This moment is a tribute to your college years. To what you’ve learned and the friends you’ve made. The things you’ve discovered about yourself. The classes and opportunities that have pushed you, challenged you, and made you grow. The mentors who have guided you. How you have persevered, and the tears and laughter along the way.

Your strengths redefine this moment. Hail to thee, Class of 2020!



Liberal Arts Degree Candidates

Faculty & Staff Greetings for the Class of 2020

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Watch video messages from over 100 faculty & staff 

Well Wishes from CLA Alumni & Friends

What an amazing year!
Jessica Quirt (BA '20, Anthropology)
Have courage (which means great heart) and lean into the greatest good for your life and all of life. You were born for such a time as this. May you be blessed!
Julia Carlson (BA '79, History)
So proud of the class of 2020 for their persistence! They will help us become a better global community!
Ellie Skelton (BA '94, English Literature)
Thank you for all that you have brought to the University of Minnesota and the College of Liberal Arts. Your persistence, determination, hard work and follow-through will bring you success as you graduate and pursue your dreams in this period of uncertainty. Congratulations!
John Wetzel (PhD '73, I/O Psychology)
As the last of those who lived through the Great Depression and WWII pass on, you are uniquely prepared to accept the torch being passes down to you. You have the skills, knowledge, and creativity to meet the challenges of this historic times. #HailtoThee2020
Colleen Robson (BA '80, Psychology)
Be open to change
Tom Olson (BA '71, Theatre)
You are enough.
Rev. Nate Melcher (BA '02, Film Studies)
Hold the memories. Both good & bad because life is fleeting. You’re going to look back at this moment now and wish you appreciated it just a bit more.
John Reher (Jack) (BIS '01, Screenwriting & Film)
Pursue a career that uses your skills but also one that makes you want to go to work each day, one that stirs some passion. You spend more time with your colleagues than your family, so make sure you work with at least some who you can call friends. Good luck!
Carolyn Trevis (BA '82, Political Science)
Always remember patience, for what you have learned will shape the future. Even when it feels that life isn't moving forward, have faith that it will. You have been given a lens in which to see the world. It will be exciting to see your vision! Congratulations class of 2020!
Lisa Lapka (BA '80, Speech Communications and Theatre Arts)
Live life knowing it always changes, and face change with courage and creativity. Never give up! Learn who you are, and accept others with respect and compassion even if you don't particularly like them. We are all in this beautiful and messy life together.
Kathleen Pattock McDonald (BA '69, Political Science)
It’s true now as it was then. Nothing is as valued as integrity. And nothing counts more than persistence. Be bold!
Tom Bienemann (BA '72)
Go into this world boldly and be the change you want to see! (Quote adjusted from Ghandi)
Sharon Johnson (DMA '08, Accompanying and Coaching)
What an amazing year!
Jessica Quirt
Congratulations on a great accomplishment. Now please go make the world a better place--we're counting on you!
Ed Gubman (BA '73, Psychology)
Invest in yourself: travel every chance you get, constantly learn, grow and always move forward. Cheers.
Christopher D Peterson (BA '90, Economics)
As you go forth into a world of unprecendented change, know that so many of us are with you, cheering you on, and that we are so very proud of you. Be kind and generous as much as you are able, reach out for support whenever you are in need, and remember that you are never alone.
Erika Sanborne (PhD '24, Sociology)
Hats off to you! College is about learning so many things including adapting and navigating what comes your way. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a graduating senior this year but I have the utmost respect for you! Ski u mah!
Elizabeth Hoium (BA '91, History)
Please don’t forget that you all are very important in this world! Congratulations Gophers♡ みなさんがこの世で特別な存在だということを忘れないでください! ご卒業おめでとうございます^ ^
Kanako Eguchi (BA '17, Psychology )
Well done and good luck in the next stage of your life. It will be fun and scary at times. Don't be discouraged if you don't find your perfect job right away. Remember, you will gain skills at each job that you have and they will help you throughout your professional career.
Elizabeth Wegele (BA '97, Statistics)
Congratulations on your achievement! Can't wait to see more magic happening along your continued journey!
Anran Zhou (BA '17, Psychology)
Friends and family touch every part of our lives. Cultivate and grow those relationships. Reach out to those in need. Look for avenues of service and community support. Don't be afraid to share from the depth of your being. And never be afraid to say "I love you."
Timothy Johnson (MA '82, Library Science)
Be proud of your achievement! The lack of a physical ceremony takes absolutely nothing away from what you have accomplished! The class of 2020 will be forever unique -- embrace it and make the challenge part of your success story. Congratulations!
Marguerite Ragnow (PhD '06, History)
CONGRATULATIONS! I remember my commencement like it was yesterday. I had worked so hard to FINALLY get that diploma! I'm so sorry that you do not get that same experience this year, but know that your hard work HAS paid off. You are our future!!! Go get 'em!
Caleb Ayers (BA '17, Physiology)
Take with you in every facet of your life all of the insights, hardships and newfound experiences to make your future so bright that it envelopes the entire world
Annie Aryavong (BA/BS '02, Economics/Sociology)
Congratulations to the class of 2020: Choose that which will motivate, encourage and fulfill you - enjoy learning about yourself as you journey forward!
Janice Sawinski (BA '87, Child Psychology)
Congrats on your AMAZING accomplishments CLA! Your expansive knowledge, talented gifts, & inspiring ambition will take you far. Keep faith that even in the midst of the unknown, you WILL navigate this; you'll come out on the other side stronger, wiser, & more empowered from it!
Megan Theesfeld (BA '18, Psychology)
Congratulations! Although it may take a few months for your next opportunity to present itself, this is short compared to the 20 years it took me to finally graduate and find my niche. So you're ahead of the game compared to some! May your futures be blessed and bright!
Katie Earhart (BA '15, French)
So proud of the Class of 2020 & our son Austin. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. You are off to great places & new experiences. Never forget your humble beginnings & always be kind, be brave, be curious & know you are loved.
Paula & Mark Wilhelm ('93)
First off, Congrats to you all. Your dedication, commitment, perseverance and determination have led you to this day. As you take the next step into the world, always remember, no one gets anywhere without the help of others. Thank those who helped you and help those after you.
Michael S. Casello (BA '16, Sociology: Law, Criminology and Deviance)
Always follow your heart
Veronica Rosas ('96, Law)
College is only the beginning. Change can be scary, but thanks to graduates like you, the arc of history bends towards justice. Even making one person’s day better is a great accomplishment. Your degree and the end of your journey is marvelous, ceremony or not. Congrats!
J Phillips (BA '18, Philosophy and Classics)
Dear CLA Class of 2020, you did it! Congratulations! You have survived so much in your life, from 9/11 to this pandemic. What you have gone through will only make you stronger. I have the utmost respect for all of you. Remember to stay connected with your alma mater. Go Gophers!
Hoang Uyen X. Nguyen (BA '02, Journalism)
Although this isn't the graduation you had anticipated, you have still achieved your goal of obtaining a degree. This period will be remembered by you and everyone else as one of huge importance. Congratulations.
Jackie Holmbeck (BS '77, Communication Disorders)
Way to go graduates! Shout out to Caroline Tracy. As you go forward, always remember to greet the world with a smile. I promise, you have great things in your future.
Valerie Tracy ('87)
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