President John C. Bravman

Class of 2020 Commencement remarks, delivered by President John C. Bravman, May 21, 2022. 

President John Bravman delivers remarks at the Class of 2020 Commencement ceremony, May 21, 2022

Commencement Remarks

Well, good morning on this glorious day. It finally is here! In case you've forgotten, my name is John Bravman, I am the president of this great university, and we are thrilled to welcome all of you today!

I want to begin by welcoming members of the Class of 2020, who have waited two years for the opportunity to safely celebrate their Commencement in person, together. We've been eagerly awaiting this day so that we can personally congratulate you here, in the heart of campus, in the way you truly deserve.

We also welcome the families and friends who have traveled here today to take part in this milestone event. 

And welcome to the University's faculty and staff. They supported every step of your journey. And they are here today to welcome you back home and to share in this recognition of your graduation.

We also welcome members of our Board of Trustees who are here for this culminating event. They are generous volunteer leaders who are dedicated to the stewardship of our great University. 

I've been waiting a long time to say this: Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Today we celebrate not only the degrees you earned two years ago, but also all that you've accomplished since your virtual graduation in 2020 and all that you’ve done under extraordinary circumstances since then. 

You might recall taking the Graduate Outcomes survey shortly after the end of your senior year. Well, one advantage of gathering two years later is that we are able to take a look at the results of what you told us.

Overall, 94% of you reported being employed, in grad school or preparing for grad school, volunteering or serving in the military. 

Three quarters of you had jobs. You were starting careers at organizations including Bank of America, Deloitte, KPMG, Accenture, Amazon, Corning Lockheed Martin, Facebook, ExxonMobil — and yes, Bucknell.

Almost 1 in 5 of you were starting graduate school at places such as Columbia, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Cal Berkeley, UPenn, UT-Austin, Notre Dame, Vanderbilt and Yale.

These outcomes would be impressive in any context. But considering that 100% of you were graduating into a global pandemic, I'd say that these results, like you, are extraordinary. 

Your ability to complete your degrees and boldly move forth into a very uncertain world speaks volumes about who you are, what you're made of, and about your grit and determination. It says a lot about mom and dad too. It tells me you are adaptable and creative, and that at Bucknell you developed the skills in critical thinking, collaboration and communication that you needed to succeed.

These are the qualities, the skills and the values shared by Bucknellians across the generations, and they will serve you for a lifetime of both navigating challenges and seizing opportunities. 

Your class outcomes are terrific, but your presence here today tells me something even more important about you. 

Your return to campus demonstrates the life-changing impact of your experience at Bucknell, and how much you value your friendships with your classmates and faculty and staff mentors. 

In surveys, you told us that you preferred to graduate as one united class. More than a few of you wrote to me personally and told me the same. We are so happy to celebrate today with you and your loved ones. 

I'm touched, truly, by the strength of your connection to the University, and I hope that you'll continue to stay engaged with Bucknell for decades to come. You always have a home here.

And now I'd like to offer a special welcome to an extraordinarily special guest. She is Doris Malesardi, who, with her beloved late husband, Bob, a member of the Class of 1945, is among the greatest benefactors in University history. 

As you know, this beautiful spot — the very heart of our campus, the academic quad — is named in their honor. 

The Malesardi family is deeply committed to expanding access to Bucknell, as evidenced by their extraordinarily generous support of need-based financial aid. And they have done even more by creating a matching-gift program to encourage others to follow their example. 

Doris, we are so honored to have you with us today to celebrate with the Class of 2020. We are so very grateful for your leadership and dedication.

And something I don't recall ever doing before standing in such a spot, I'm going to say: Doris, I love you, and there are thousands of people who love you, and you have changed the lives of people you will never, ever meet. Thank you. 

Now it is my pleasure to introduce our next speaker, Provost Elisabeth Mermann-Jozwiak. 

Presentation of Graduates

Ladies and gentlemen, the Class of 2020!

Thank you, everyone, for being here to celebrate together.

Graduates, as evidenced by your presence today, your ties to this community will remain strong forever. 

We congratulate you again and wish you the very best in all of your endeavors.

And now, I invite everyone who is able to please rise and join me in singing our Alma Mater.