The Colorado College Class of 2020 officially graduates on Sunday, May 31, with 524 undergraduates earning degrees. This year, the college’s 146th academic year, the class cannot receive their diplomas in person from President Jill Tiefenthaler due to the pandemic. However, the college is sending members of the graduating class celebratory gift boxes and a series of web, email, and video communications, including a video reel featuring congratulatory messages from faculty, staff, and elected officials.
Additionally, an in-person, on-campus Commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 has been rescheduled for Sunday, May 30, 2021, and CC is working on raising funds so that all members of the class can attend, regardless of their financial circumstances.
In this year’s Commencement program, President Tiefenthaler notes that even though the class is not gathering in person to celebrate, “our pride and excitement for you are undiminished. You are our next leaders, our brightest minds, the ones who will change our world for the better.
“Thank you for all you have added to CC in your time here. You are why CC exists, and why it is a rare and special place. You have made a mark in the classroom, the community, on this campus, and in our hearts. Now you will do the same in the world.”
Indeed, the Class of 2020’s experiences and achievements are notable. Among them:
- Lived through much transition, including the development of the East Campus Housing Community, renaming of South Hall, naming of Tava Quad, and renovation of Tutt Library, now the largest, net-zero energy academic library in the country
- Active in CC’s ongoing antiracism work, championing the efforts and passing the activism torch
- Saw the expansion of the alliance between the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and Colorado College and the partnership between CC’s NPR-member station 91.5 KRCC and Colorado Public Radio
- Contributed to CC reaching its goal of carbon neutrality by 2020 by installing a solar array at CC’s Baca Campus
- Saw the development and growth of CC’s Refugee Alliance, working with community partners
- Helped start and facilitate an on-campus Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, helped plan programming for Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Sexual Assault Month, collaborated with the sexual assault response coordinator and Title IX coordinator to create a feedback survey for people utilizing the formal Title IX process, and helped bring a Films for Mental Health event to campus
- Through the Coffee Marketing Challenge, returned $4,800 in profits from selling coffee from a small farmer’s co-op, supporting various services and programs in Guatemala
Colorado College received 7,997 applications for the Class of 2020, which had an acceptance rate of 15.8%, a record low at that time. Before starting at CC, the incoming class read “Whistling Vivaldi” by Claude Steele as their Common Book Read for New Student Orientation.
Individually, members of the Class of 2020 have some notable achievements. The class includes two Erasmus Mundus Scholars, a Watson Fellow, winner of The Denver Press Club student award, and seven Fulbright semifinalists, three of whom went on to become finalists.
Additionally, the class features a student who:
- Is a competitive juggler
- Is an opera performer
- Was born in Yellowstone National Park
- Helped build the first tennis court in Afghanistan
- Witnessed Egypt’s protest of the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood firsthand
- Climbed all 46 high peaks of the Adirondacks
- Rode down Mount Marathon, outside Seward, Alaska, on a unicycle
However, more than anything, the Class of 2020 has had to build resilience as they’ve been tested in ways no other graduating class has during the COVID-19 crisis and having their time at CC cut short. Nevertheless, they have found ways to celebrate their accomplishments and maintain joy. This class has stood firm. And the class motto? Hindsight is 20/20.