University Celebrates 2020 Class at Special Centennial Commencement

Homecoming Weekend saw the University of New Haven host an in-person Commencement Ceremony for its Centennial Class. Officially, graduates received their degrees in 2020, which is the University’s Centennial year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has prevented them from having an in-person ceremony.

Randall Horton (Ph.D.), an English professor, said to the University of New Haven’s Centennial Classes during an in-person Commencement ceremony, which was postponed for nearly 18 months because of the effects of COVID-19.

He is an experienced person. He was convicted of smuggling cocaine in Roxbury Correctional in Maryland more than twenty years ago.

“My entire life had been smashed into a brick wall in cell 23,” he stated. “It was impossible to reach the other side of this metaphorical and literal wall if I didn’t deal with the situation in front of me. I had to run in the direction of the problem. “There was no other way to live inside a box.”

He began to read avidly and attended a community college course to earn credit. The professor asked him to be the main speaker at their annual awards ceremony.

Horton, who was awarded the American Book Award 2021, said that “And today I get to have the honor and privilege of standing before you today to witness, testify as an example that there are no walls that you cannot overcome.” “The Class of 2020 will be our definitive point of reference in asking ourselves: Which class has demonstrated the most resilience in the face of the impossible here at University of New Haven?” You are that class.

Homecoming Weekend saw the University of New Haven host an in-person Commencement Ceremony for its Centennial Class. Officially, graduates received their degrees in 2020, which is the University’s Centennial year. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has prevented them from having an in-person ceremony.

Randall Horton (Ph.D.), an English professor, said to the University of New Haven’s Centennial Classes during an in-person Commencement ceremony, which was postponed for nearly 18 months because of the effects of COVID-19.

He is an experienced person. He was convicted of smuggling cocaine in Roxbury Correctional in Maryland more than twenty years ago.

He stated, “My entire life had been smashed into a brick wall in cell 23.” “The only way I could get past that metaphorical and literal wall was to confront the problem before me. I needed to run in the direction of the problem. “There was no other way to live inside a box.”

He began to read avidly and attended a community college course for credit. The professor asked him to be the main speaker at their annual awards ceremony.

Horton, who was awarded the American Book Award 2021, said that “And today I get to have the honor and privilege of standing before you today to witness, testify as an example that there are no walls that you cannot overcome.” “The Class of 2020 will be our definitive point of reference in asking ourselves: Which class has demonstrated the most resilience in the face of the impossible here at University of New Haven?” You are that class.

Randall Horton (Ph.D.), an English professor, speaks to students.

“You are indeed unique”

Horton shared his special poem for the 350 graduating students during the Homecoming weekend ceremony. Many had returned to campus in the wake of the pandemic. He also shared the poem with the graduates who graduated in 2020, which is the University’s Centennial Year.

Horton stated, “Literally in the middle sentence, prior to the final paper could be completed, and before the last paragraph could be written – the world that you thought you knew was turned upside-down, became topsy-turvy. A balancing act that you had to negotiate.” “I heard your personal stories about hardship, but I also felt the determination, the inability to admit defeat, and the refusal to give up something so dear, yet far away, at that time.

“You will always be capable of juxtaposing what you have done to attain this great accomplishment to any roadblock you might encounter on your journey through life,” he said. Congratulations to the Class of 2020. You are truly exceptional.

“I am extremely grateful”

Anna Downs, ’20 was among the graduates. Since then, she has returned to the University as assistant director of enrollment communications and admissions. “I am so grateful that I chose to go to the University of New Haven. They care about their students,” she stated.

Steven H. Kaplan, the President, looked out at Zolad Stadium before he began his remarks. He praised the class leaders and their dedication to holding the ceremony in person.

He stated that “the pandemic has had an impact on all of us in profound ways.” “Perhaps though, no one was more affected as a whole than those in our Centennial Class, who were trying to finish their degrees during this unique time.” You, your classmates, and other students around the country were close to the end of your studies. We look forward to all the traditions associated with this important moment in our lives.

“You are uniquely prepared”

President Kaplan noted that what struck him most was the graduates’ reaction to the challenges they faced, and the triumphantly overcame.

“I am most thankful we have the opportunity today to gather safely to acknowledge your resolve, all that you have accomplished since you joined our alumni ranks, and to celebrate the limitless potential you have to continue making a difference in this global world.”

President Kaplan ended his remarks with Maya Angelou’s quote, “I can change by what happens.” But it is unacceptable for me to be diminished by it.”

He stated, “Each of your actions exemplifies the spirit and embodies it.” “Thanks for your resilience, determination, and ability to overcome adversity, you are unrivaled prepared, perhaps more than any graduate group that has come before you, to deal with it.”