Elon University’s undergraduate conferral ceremony offered a message of resiliency for the class of 2020. Although safety concerns born out of the coronavirus pandemic postponed an in-person celebration for the class of 2020, a pre-recorded ceremony was streamed for graduates.

President Connie Book said these new alumni’s learning will continue beyond Elon’s campus even if it includes “dark periods full of doubt, anxiousness and fear.” She charges graduates to learn from these periods.

“While the coronavirus pandemic is not a course or a class any of you registered to take class of 2020, it is without question your teacher, and we find ourselves in the middle of an unanticipated and often painful moment of learning,” Book said.

Book encouraged graduates to look to their peers for strength. This guidance from peers, is something Noor Irshaidat, senior class president, said is a highlight of the student experience.

“These experiences have allowed us to grow, but the reason that these experiences felt so special is the people that we’ve been able to share them with,” Irshaidat said.

As the class of 2020 begins post-graduate life, Book suggests the class embrace their new life with what they’ve learned throughout their four years and through the pandemic.

“Let us all go forward to new Elon, so that we can rise like our mighty Phoenix with the powerful lessons this pandemic is teaching us this painful transformation you’re having it will live in each of you, class of 2020,” Book said.