Honoring the Class of 2020

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Class of 2020 mortarboard.

More than 1,000 graduates from the Class of 2020 returned to the campus—many with decorated caps—to reconnect with peers and celebrate the completion of their degree. Photos by Erik Jepsen/University Communications.

On Friday, June 10, a special celebration was held to honor the achievements of the Class of 2020—the graduates who completed their degree as the COVID-19 pandemic began to sweep across the globe. More than 1,250 members of the class returned to UC San Diego to participate in the event, which included a pre-reception for graduates to reconnect with peers as well as enjoy food and music from DJ Shammy.

Excitement swelled as graduates lined up to formally process down RIMAC Field toward the stage dressed in their ceremonial cap and gown. The event began with recognition from Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla as well as UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors President Kimberly Phillips Boehm, ‘82.

“You know very well by now that you are a unique class…You’re here today because no matter where you have ventured in the last two years, you have come back to celebrate this incredible accomplishment as a class,” said Phillips Boehm, who reminded graduates that they will always have a Triton family awaiting them.

Alumnus and student keynote speaker Adarsh Parthasarathy.

Alumnus and student keynote speaker Adarsh Parthasarathy spoke about the idea of leaving a legacy built on a foundation of kindness and positive change rather than a desire for individual recognition.

Student keynote speaker Adarsh Parthasarathy also shared the importance of solidarity and leaving a positive impact on others. “We worry about whether we will find our place in history, whether we are going to accomplish anything of note for ourselves, for our families, and perhaps for the world,” said Parthasarathy, who is currently enrolled at the University of Texas School of Law. “Our power to change the world and to make an impact, to build a legacy, comes not from being in a position to get our names in the pages of history, but from pushing those around us to positivity by embodying that positivity ourselves…Let that be your legacy.”

Following the formal remarks, alumni were individually recognized on stage—including hooding ceremonies for doctoral degree recipients. Family and friends cheered from the field; some graduates even brought newborn members of their family with them on stage.

For those who were not able to attend, the full livestreamed ceremony can be viewed on the UC San Diego Commencement website.

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