After a two-year absence due to COVID-19, Harvard Extension School welcomed admitted degree candidates back to campus at an in-person Convocation ceremony.
The first weekend in October brought cool weather and more than 500 degree candidates — many of whom were admitted in 2020 and 2021 — to the Memorial Church. Students had the opportunity to connect in person with their classmates, many of whom had thought the chance to have their own Convocation had passed by.
In attendance were Harvard Division of Continuing Education employees Jake Doty and Joel Ramos, who are seeking masters of liberal arts degrees (A.L.M.) in digital media design. Both work in the DCE’s online course design department and were ecstatic to see their classmates at the end of a long journey. They were also thankful for a day they thought would never come.
“It feels good to be on campus for Convocation,” said Doty. “Our Convocation was originally supposed to be held in 2020. Yet today it feels oddly vindicating. We finally got here.”
Ramos echoed those sentiments. “I’m seriously grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to continue working on my studies,” he said. “I thought that my Convocation wasn’t going to happen. This is special. And to see other degree candidates here shows that we made it through a very difficult situation, and we all made it together.”
DCE Dean Nancy Coleman addressed attendees and noted in her remarks that for many, the day may have been their first visit to campus, but whether they were new to Cambridge or familiar with their surroundings, they all shared a common path.
She said the assembled degree candidates “have embraced intellectual curiosity, mental flexibility, and rigorous challenge.”
“There are certainly easier paths, perhaps quicker and maybe less expensive, but you chose to be here, at Harvard,” said Coleman. “You walked proudly through these storied gates. You have earned your way in, and we applaud you.”
On hand to listen to speakers in the Memorial Church were degree candidates who had traveled to Cambridge from the Philippines, United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, and throughout the U.S. Thousands more watched the ceremony via live stream.