William Paterson University Celebrates Class of 2021 with In-Person Outdoor Commencement Ceremonies on Campus

To view downloadable photos from the Commencement Ceremonies, click here.

To view video recordings of each Commencement Ceremony, click here.

Members of William Paterson University’s Class of 2021 donned their caps and gowns and walked across the Commencement stage on Wightman Field on campus as they celebrated earning their degrees during a series of 11 in-person ceremonies.

The ceremonies, held from Monday, May 17 through Wednesday, May 19, under beautiful blue skies, provided the graduates with individual recognition for their achievements.  In order to comply with current state regulations limiting the size of outdoor gatherings, the ceremonies were limited to the graduates and two guests per graduate. Graduates were assigned to a ceremony based on major and degree level; nine ceremonies were held for those earning bachelor’s degrees, while two evening ceremonies celebrated doctoral an d master’s degree candidates. The ceremonies were livestreamed online so friends and family could watch remotely as well.

President Richard Helldobler, who spoke to the graduates at each ceremony, reminded them that commencement offers an opportunity to reflect on their unique journey, and to contemplate the paths they will choose moving forward, degree in hand.

“This past year has taught us hard but valuable lessons about the heroics of our first responders; the need for good science; the disparities of justice, economics, and health in our communities of color; and of the overall fragility of life,” he said. “May we all learn from these lessons and commit our talent, skill, and energy to building a better, healthier, more just world.”

“Your new degree is a kind of golden ticket that will bring you a better, more prosperous life,” he continued. “As you build that life, let us remember the words of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who said, ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.’ Your new degree will open for you doors that are otherwise closed to many. Will you hold it open, so that others may pass through? The true purpose of education is to improve the lives of others and leave your community and world better than you found them.”

During each ceremony, graduates processed to the stage to receive, where their name was called and they received congratulations from President Helldobler, members of the Board of Trustees, and other members of the University administration. At the conclusion, the graduates celebrated under a shower of orange, black and white streamers, and posed for photos with family and friends.