News at WilmU

WilmU Graduation Class of 2020: The Class of Determination

January graduate walks across the stage and cheers

If one word could describe Wilmington University’s Class of 2020, it would be determination.

Determination to work hard, press on, and do whatever it takes to reach a dream.

On January 26, Wilmington University awarded over 1,160 academic degrees during its 49th Commencement ceremony at the Chase Center on the Riverfront. It was the first time the university hosted its graduation ceremonies simultaneously with two occurring during each timeframe.

The Class of 2020 includes graduates from 40 different countries representing Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe, with the furthest graduate living in South Korea. The graduates range from 20 to 73 years old, and more than 500 completed their degrees entirely online.

Commencement speaker at podium

The theme of determination was apparent in the commencement addresses given throughout the day. The speakers shared their WilmU experiences and reflected on how faculty and staff encouraged them to never give up. While facing the demands of everyday life, each student pressed on.

Gwyn Parris-Atwell, a Doctorate of Nursing graduate for WilmU’s College of Health Professions, has a long, beloved history at WilmU. She received her bachelor’s and master’s in Nursing from the university, and the graduation ceremony marked her fourth and final degree, a doctorate from WilmU.

A Colonel in the Delaware Air National Guard, Parris-Atwell shared how tough it can be balancing the military with academics, and how WilmU remained flexible throughout her journey. “Military students have unpredictable schedules,” she explained. “We typically can’t cancel training or deployments to attend college… Each time I had a conflict with my course schedule, instructors asked me how they could help.”

Timothy Malloy of Myrtle Beach, a Bachelor of Science graduate in Liberal Studies, delivered one of the addresses during the ceremony for WilmU’s College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. He shared his history of struggling with academics and sobriety, and how determined he was to make a change.

“I approached school much like I approached my sobriety: one class at a time,” Malloy stated. While at WilmU, he earned Dean’s List honors and was inducted into the Alpha Sigma Lambda National Honor Society. At the end of his address, Malloy concluded, “Use whatever fear you feel to propel you forward. Never give up on your dreams. Don’t quit. And never let doubt ever creep into your thoughts.”

Shawn, a WilmU graduate in his robes celebrates as he walks across the stage.

Commencement speakers also included:

* Brandy Cooper, Doctorate of Education Leadership and Innovation in the College of Education

* Keonna Freeman, Master of Science in Applied Family Science in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

* Vince Pavic, Doctorate of Business Administration in the College of Business

* Connor Ryland, Bachelor of Science in Video and Motion Graphics in the College of Technology

Supporting that determination to succeed is only one of the ways WilmU worked for these graduates, and many just like them.

“Wilmington University provided the traditional and nontraditional students among us with the necessary tools we’d need to excel in our respective fields,” Keonna Freeman reflected in her address. “The quality of programs, the flexibility of online and traditional classes, the knowledgeable, selfless faculty, and the reputation of the University’s 50-plus years of providing opportunity, all confirm that we chose an awesome university…We should be proud to call Wilmington University our alma mater.”

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

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