Memorable Commencement Experiences on Tap for Two Unforgettable Classes

Graduating student dressed in regalia

After more than a year of pivots and protocols, video screens and virtual gatherings, two incredible classes of Babson graduates will come together over the next three weekends to celebrate Commencement like never before in the College’s 102-year history.

The once-in-a-century pandemic that forced students off campus and classes online last year also disrupted nearly every aspect of college life. But, business as usual isn’t how Babson students approach and solve problems, and the resilient Class of 2020 and Class of 2021 responded as only values-driven entrepreneurial leaders know how: with agility and perseverance, with bold action and calculated risk-taking, with empathy and compassion.

“Babson graduates are special,” said Babson President Stephen Spinelli Jr. MBA’92, PhD. “And, these two classes of graduates, in particular, have proven time and time again over the past year how important entrepreneurial leadership is in order to thrive amid disruption and uncertainty. That’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to be able to celebrate their accomplishments in such grand and unique ways over the course of three weekends.”

The College’s unique Commencement experiences, likewise, display the same entrepreneurial spirit to navigate the desires of the graduates and the complicated logistics of safely convening during these unprecedented times.

The exciting programs for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021—a historic endeavor for the College involving the development of nine rich experiences—offer opportunities to celebrate both in person and virtually, providing traditional Commencement memories and new digital moments.

Graduating the Class of 2021

The undergraduate and graduate Classes of 2021 will be celebrated in person during three separate experiences this weekend.

During each in-person experience, graduates will proceed to the Commencement tent in their caps and gowns as faculty and staff cheer them on, cross the stage individually as their names are read aloud and photos are taken, and be welcomed into the Babson Alumni Network. Congratulatory remarks from College leadership and student speakers, along with special musical guests and multimedia moments, will add energy and excitement to this milestone occasion.

Graduates will then have the opportunity to bid farewell to Babson via a self-guided tour, in which they can pose for souvenir pictures at photo booths and other special spots around the campus.

Beginning the same weekend and running through the following week, members of the undergraduate and graduate classes also will be honored in small-group gatherings, including the Posse 14 Graduation Celebration, Black Student Send-Off, Student of Color Send-Off, and Lavender Graduation, as well as the Last Lecture and Last Night in Olin.

READ MORE about Babson’s Commencement speakers and honorary degree recipients.

On May 15, the undergraduate and graduate Classes of 2021 will be celebrated in digital ceremonies. Graduates will hear remarks from College leaders and student speakers Britney Aguayo ’21 and Vaidehi Tembhekar MBA’21, be recognized individually as their degrees are conferred, and enjoy entertainment and special-guest appearances.

Jamie Siminoff ’99, CEO, founder, and chief inventor of Ring, will deliver the Commencement address to the undergraduate Class of 2021 at its virtual ceremony, and Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, will deliver the Commencement address to the graduate Class of 2021.

Welcoming Back the Class of 2020

The undergraduate and graduate Classes of 2020 will be celebrated in separate experiences, both in person and digital, on Saturday, May 8.

Just like the Class of 2021, the in-person experiences will capture the spirit and many of the best moments of a traditional Commencement experience, including the procession, crossing the stage, Alumni Network welcome, inspirational remarks from College leaders and student speakers, special musical guests, and multimedia moments. Graduates also will have time for photo opportunities around campus.

During the virtual ceremonies, graduates will hear remarks from College leaders and student speakers Swathi Nachiappan ’20 and Cristian Leiva MBA’20, be recognized individually as their names are read aloud, and enjoy entertainment and special-guest appearances.

Richelieu Dennis Jr. ’91, founder of Sundial Brands and founder/chair of Essence Ventures, will deliver the Commencement address to the undergraduate Class of 2020, and Carla A. Harris, vice chairman, managing director, and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley, will deliver the Commencement address to the graduate Class of 2020.

How to Tune In

While gathering restrictions mean that guests are not permitted on campus for Commencement, family and friends can watch the events—including the graduates’ moment on stage—via Babson’s Commencement livestream.

In addition to livestreaming the festivities, Babson will cover Commencement live on social media. Graduates and their families are encouraged to share how they are marking this milestone—or memories such as when their graduate was accepted into Babson—by tagging the College on Instagram (@BabsonCollege), Facebook (@babsoncollege), and Twitter (@babson), and using the hashtags #Babson2021 or #Babson2020.

Graduates must be preregistered to attend the in-person events and be in compliance with Babson testing protocols, even if fully vaccinated. Masks continue to be required everywhere on Babson’s campus in keeping with Board of Health planning, with the exception of specific photo opportunities. Visit the Commencement website for more information.

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