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Best Wishes to Graduates LVC Celebration of the Class of 2020

Vale Artist of the Year Shawn Matthews, a.k.a. Rushil, dedicated his new single “Higher” to the Class of 2020. VALE Music Group, LVC’s student-run record label, enables students to learn the ins and outs of the music industry through a hands-on approach. Shawn released his EP Blue on Spotify and Apple Music.

Over the past few years, several articles have contested the value of a college degree and I’ve never quite understood this since college is not, nor should it be, about the degree. It is about the community you join; it is about the exploration of various fields of study, it is about access to resources and support services, it is about building a network and developing skills. Yet, an area that was of concern to me for the LVC Class of 2020 was whether or not you’d have the tenacity or adaptability needed for today’s competitive and ever-evolving workplace. But now, everything has changed.

You’re a generation that has grown accustomed to an on-demand lifestyle, but everything has come to a halt. In a matter of weeks, or even days, you had to uproot yourselves and your social lives, shift gears to be self-sufficient in your studies, and pitch in as part of your home communities. Contingency plans continue to be crafted daily—and undoubtedly this dynamic has changed how you view your roles in society, let alone in your upcoming careers.

Traditionally, graduation served as a turning point for entering into the real world, but that world is now surreal and virtual and uncertain. I suspect fewer employers will be looking at Grade Point Averages and the GPA that will matter is Grit (ability to persevere and adapt), Purpose (understanding what matters), and Attitude (a positive and passionate mindset).

Actually, prior to the pandemic, if you were to search out what qualities are necessary for today’s workforce, you’d come across articles on emotional intelligence, meta-skills for functional learning, and the importance of soft skills. In particular, creativity and critical thinking tend to top the charts as a must for personal advancement and organizational advancement via forms of intrapreneurship.

But not all competencies can be taught—some must be experienced. And the experience of living through this pandemic will give you an advantage over previous classes upon entering the workforce.

  • The closures of campuses and cancellations of events will likely result in your 2020 class appreciating community events more and increase your participation in sponsored functions and fundraising campaigns.
  • After seeing loved ones lose jobs, or learn new skills, or adjust to the merging of home and work life, you will save more, understand the need for life-long learning, and prioritize self-care and work-life balance.
  • Sharing time, space, and even the internet and making the best of what resources you have in your homes will lead to you being more collaborative and efficient workers.
  • Receiving a variety of messages and expectations (from the College itself, from your department, from your professors, from student affairs, from student clubs, from your communities, from the businesses you frequent, from your families, from social media) means the LVC Class of 2020 will understand the dynamics of poly-centric organizations and value the art of communication. You will know when to read carefully and place value on face-to-face conversations.
  • Being confronted with uncertainty on so many levels means YOU will be forward-thinking, risk-taking, and yet overly conscious of your actions.

These experiences will result in you becoming proactive and responsive managers, leaders, and teams of workers. And this will serve our global economy well. In what was, and will be again, our fast moving competitive world, businesses will seek out these traits, not perfection. Clever and resourceful ideas that cater to or establish new trends is what keep firms on top, and this is an absolute strength of your class.

Because of all this, the LVC Class of 2020 will be both resilient and emphatic—and that is good for the future of any business or field.

In moments of doubt or uncertainly, remember your GPA—Grit, Purpose, and Attitude.

—Dr. Kimberlee Josephson, associate dean of the Breen Center for Graduate Success, assistant professor of business administration

Academic Affairs Best Wishes to Graduates

I am so proud of each and every one of you! Despite numerous challenges, you have risen to the occasion and persevered to complete your degrees. Remember—the best view comes after the hardest climb. You are full of grit and tenacity, as you have been doing this for your entire lives, living through the unimaginable time and time again. The future may seem uncertain, and graduating when the world is full of unknowns may be scary, but if you strive to always do your best, and be the very best version of yourselves, you can’t go wrong. You are prepared, and you are ready. Hold yourselves to a standard of grace—not perfection—in the days weeks and months ahead. Look for ways to build bridges, show kindness, care for others, recognize small victories, and innovate with new ideas and plans. Take time not only to plan for your next steps, but to reflect on how far you’ve come. I can’t wait to see how each of your stories unfold.

—Sarah Bartz, Director of Academic Success

What a story you’ll have to tell 10 years from now! Although this situation isn’t exactly the type of “memorable” one we all hoped for, know that every single one of you is remarkable. This setback in no way diminishes your achievements—in fact, it makes those accomplishments even more extraordinary. Keep your head up high, celebrate YOU, reflect on this significant milestone, and know that the LVC community will always be cheering for your success.

—Elizabeth A. Julian, Assistant Dean of Student Support and Retention

Congratulations to the Lebanon Valley College Class of 2020! This is your time to celebrate and be recognized as a class that has endured a unique situation over the past couple of months and still continues to be motivated and successful. You all have shown extreme perseverance and strength in balancing home, school, and work life. I am very proud to be a part of the LVC community and help celebrate YOU! I wish you the best in your future endeavors. Congratulations on your accomplishments and remember to focus on the positive!

—Erin Hannaford, Director of the Center for Accessibility Resources

Since the beginning of your time at LVC, you’ve shown how fearless you are in the face of a challenge. You’ve risen to every occasion, balancing academics, student leadership positions, jobs, sports, and extracurricular activities. Although your senior year may not have ended as you’d hoped, you’ve shown us once again just how resilient, capable, and strong you are. Thank you for being a bright light on campus and making LVC a better place, just by being you! Congratulations on your achievements and accomplishments—I can’t wait to see where life takes you next!

—Hannah Stone, Academic Success Specialist

Warmest congratulations to our 2020 graduates! We celebrate your curiosity to learn, grit to endure the unexpected, and pride in earning your LVC degree. Cheers to you all as you navigate your next great adventures!

"The horizon leans forward, offering you space to place new steps of change."—Maya Angelou.

—Jill Russell, Director of Global Education

Congratulations on the completion of a very unusual semester! Your flexibility, resilience, and can-do attitude brought you to the finish line—and I have no doubt that you completed your final exams with the same strength and finesse.

—Dr. Susan Tammaro, Associate Provost

You are about to close a chapter in your book of life; one we are proud to be a part of. We celebrate, with you, the dignity and pride that comes with successful completion of each class, this semester, your degree, and an invaluable education. "I hope you still feel small when you stand beside the ocean. Whenever one door closes, I hope one more opens... and when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, dance."—Songwriters Tia Sillers and Mark Sanders for Le Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance” #LVC2020

—The Staff of the LVC Registrar’s Office

Here is a quote that I believe to be true for all of us as we navigate life’s journey. Best of luck—you are resilient and courageous, and we are so proud of you!

“Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson

—Brynn Mason, Director of the Breen Center for Graduate Success

See your goal. Understand the obstacles. Create a positive mental picture. Clear your mind of self-doubt. Embrace the challenge. Stay on track. Show the world you can do it! You’ve got this!

—Christina Wolfe, Employer Relations Specialist at the Breen Center for Graduate Success

“You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” Jane Goodall

We are so proud of all that you have accomplished at LVC and look forward to hearing about all that you do to make the world a better place. Follow your passions and know that in these times your talents are needed more than ever. We support you in the path you choose, we believe in you, and we know that you will have a positive impact on the world.

—Dr. Monica Cowart, Provost & Vice President of Academic Affairs

I could not be prouder of the hard work, perseverance, and excellence that you are displaying at this point in your educational journey, and I am sure that for many of you this past week had an added intensity with final papers, projects, comprehensive tests, and other assignments. Be buoyed by the fact that each of you possess the skills, creativity, problem solving abilities, and determination to flourish.
I am confident that you will achieve the academic goals that you set for yourself back in January. I know this because you were recruited by the College and your faculty mentors for your great potential and prior accomplishments, and now that you are thriving members of our educational community, you are exceeding our expectations. The evidence of your success is demonstrated in so many different ways, not the least of which, has been your response to this new hurdle along your educational path.

—Dr. Marc Harris, Dean of Faculty

On behalf of LVC’s graduate studies at LVC, my hope is that you are embracing the uncertainly of what the future holds. One thing that is guaranteed is that tomorrow will come, and it may not be what you planned. Allow yourself to wonder, dream, be creative, try unique and new things. Investigate. Make mistakes. But, at the end of each day, pick yourself up, smile, breath, and look to a brighter tomorrow.

—Donna Griffith, Graduate Admission Counselor

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