Dear 2020 Graduate:

For all of us, the past weeks have unfolded in unfathomable ways. For you and your classmates, this momentous time in human history coincides with your own time of personal passage.

You are embarking from your place at one of the country’s finest universities to a larger world, where you now are seeking your place. And, sadly, you are doing so without the familiar pomp and circumstance that May graduation brings.

Your metamorphosis comes at a time when very little is familiar. You have weathered a sudden shift in instruction, a pause in many institutions that anchor our lives, and a drastic change to how we interact in the physical world.

Like you, we miss the immediacy and joy of celebrating you and your Class of 2020 with great ceremony.

Know that we are very proud to call you a graduate of Clemson University.

Your achievement is in no way diminished by our current circumstances. If anything, it is amplified. You are part of a historic graduating class here – one that is facing uncertainty, economic turmoil, threats to health and well-being, and challenges to previous patterns of living.

You stand with previous classes at Clemson that have risen to extraordinary challenges. Clemson’s 1917 graduating class volunteered its service to the military, with more than 70 percent serving during the first World War. The Class of ’39 began classes during the Depression, was thrust into World War II, and later contributed a rich legacy on campus that includes the South Carolina Botanical Garden. Other Clemson classes have emerged from epidemics, wars, recessions, terrorism and unrest.

I have been inspired by how you and your fellow students have risen to our present challenges.

Hold close your friendships with classmates. Hold close those bonds, and also know that you are part of a larger Clemson Family and a larger world.

In our College, we talk a lot about creativity, critical thought, communication and collaboration. These will be important tools for you, along with patience.

I hope you will use this time as a lens to examine what is broken in our world. I hope your Class of 2020 will look outwardly with “2020 vision” to see how you can make your lives and communities better.

I have confidence the world will not always feel so upside down. In the coming years you will have the power to lead, to reimagine and to rebuild a better world than the one you inherited.

I believe you will find your footing. In fact, I believe you will soar.

Go Tigers!

Timothy R. Boosinger, Interim Dean
College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities

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