A virtual graduation celebration in the College of Fine Arts

When the 2020 convocation celebrations were postponed, we in the College of Fine Arts took a long collective sigh of disappointment. Deflated and distanced, we did what comes most naturally: create. So, with our next inhale, we dedicated our efforts to figure out how we could use a new medium to make something that reflects this current reality. It’s what we do.

What would have been live speeches on Kingsbury Hall’s stage became pre-recorded videos from our homes. Our walks were performed on social media. Our high fives were made of emojis.

What was maybe the most unique addition to our virtual reality, though, was the recreation of the Kingsbury Hall lawn, where our graduates normally get share pictures, memories, give thanks, say goodbye and revel in the community that has supported them through their journeys. This year, that lawn was made of pixels in the form of an online message board, but despite its artificial nature, it became the vibrant gathering place for students, faculty, staff, alumni, families, friends and donors.

In the arts, we know this: nothing can replace the vitality and connectedness of physical proximity. We also know this: Nothing is stronger than our will to thrive even in the most challenging times.

Thank you to all those who adapted with us; it was their participation that made our celebrations momentous.