A-State Holds 2020 Fall Graduation Sunday Morning in Stadium
JONESBORO – Students braved cool temperatures as they participated in Arkansas State University’s 2020 fall graduation exercises Sunday morning in Centennial Bank Stadium.
The event, originally scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 19, but was postponed to Sunday due to lingering rain in the forecast. The ceremony took place on the playing field while friends and families watched from the stands.
(From left) Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse, 100,000th A-State graduate Madison Driver of Newport, and President of the Arkansas State University Alumni Association Dr. Dale Morris.
“Commencement is always a time of excitement here at Arkansas State as we celebrate along with you a milestone achievement,” Chancellor Kelly Damphousse told the graduates. “Like me, many of you are the first in your family to earn a college degree. Others among you represent the second, third or fourth generation in your family to attend Arkansas State.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event employed COVID-19 safety measures that were followed during the 2020 spring and summer graduations that were both held in August. The spring commencement had been postponed from May.
All graduates were seated six feet apart and were required to wear face coverings during the entire ceremony, only removing them for their professional photo after exiting the stage.
“All of you had to work very hard to get here today, overcoming challenges while balancing your studies and other responsibilities,” continued Damphousse. “As you sit here today, I know you are thinking about the people in your life who made your graduation possible. Your family and friends have been very important partners in your educational success. Today is not only a celebration for you, but for them as well.”
Members of the ASU System Board of Trustees were unable to attend the event; however, System President Charles Welch and Board Vice Chair Price Gardner sent messages that were played on the Centennial Bank Stadium video board.
“Congratulations graduates,” said Welch. “On behalf of entire university system, I want to tell you how incredibly proud we are of this monumental accomplishment to your life. It has been an incredibly difficult year, but honestly, I think your graduation means more because you had to overcome obstacles and persevere in an environment that no one in our lifetime has ever had to face. And because you’ve done that, you have proven that nothing is going to stand in the way of reaching your goals and achieving the dreams in your life.”
Gardner added, “Congratulations to each of you on your graduation. We wish you the best of luck as you move forward in the next chapter of your lives whether it means pursing additional education or certification for putting your skills to work.”
Brandon Bradke of Heber Springs served as the featured student speaker of behalf of the 2020 graduates. Bradke graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. He has been named to the Chancellor’s List each semester he was at A-State.
“Each and every one of you should be filled with pride right now,” Bradke told the graduates. “Graduating is not an easy task. As students, we spent countless hours working toward this very moment. But today is more than a celebration of finishing. You will walk across the stage and you will get your degree. That piece of paper represents more than just your academics; they represent the friends you’ve made, the professors you have come to know, and the experiences that you’ve had. It will open doors to your future. You have accomplished great things at Arkansas State and A-State is the foundation for the building of your future.”
Presenting the diplomas was paused for a few moments to recognize Madison Driver of Newport receiving her degree as the 100,000th graduate of Arkansas State. Driver is an exercise major and both of her parents are also graduates of A-State.
Chancellor Damphousse conferred degrees upon graduates from seven colleges including Agriculture, Neil Griffin College of Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Engineering and Computer Science, Liberal Arts and Communication, Nursing and Health Professions, and Sciences and Mathematics, along with University College. Graduates received doctoral, specialist, master, bachelor and associate degrees.