Union to host Commencement ceremony for Class of 2020 Sunday

Publication Date

The College will host a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020 at 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 20, on Hull (Library) Plaza. The ceremony will follow the protocols for the Class of 2021 event.

The traditional ceremony was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, the College held a virtual event in which President David R. Harris conferred degrees on the 477 members of the class.

Juju Chang (Photo credit: ABC/Heidi Gutman)

Juju Chang (Photo credit: ABC/Heidi Gutman)

Nearly 330 graduates have registered to attend the in-person ceremony.

The featured speaker is Juju Chang, the Emmy Award-winning co-anchor of ABC News’ “Nightline.” A regular contributor to “Good Morning America” and “20/20,” Chang has for decades reported on major national and international news events, including terrorism, natural disasters and racial equity.

She recently presented two hour-long specials and one live special about the rise of hate crimes against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.

Chang has been recognized for her in-depth personal narratives set against the backdrop of pressing national and international news: from immigration and terrorism to racial equity and LGBTQ+ rights.

She has covered major breaking news for decades including extensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic: the science, the economic fallout, the racial disparities, the impact on hospital ICUs and essential workers.

Chang will receive an honorary doctorate of letters degree.

The College will also award an honorary doctorate of humane letters to Patricia Hill Collins, a Distinguished University Professor Emerita in Sociology at the University of Maryland. She is a social theorist who has focused primarily on feminism and gender within the African-American community and the complexities of the intersections of those issues with race and class.

In her seminal book, “Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness and the Politics of Empowerment,” Collins developed the theory of intersectionality. Today it is a central concept of sociology that connects many forms of oppression – including racism, classicism, sexism and xenophobia – as a unified system that she called a “matrix of domination.”

Kara Leyden, an interdepartmental biology and sociology major from Glenmont, N.Y., is the valedictorian. She is in the Leadership in Medicine program.

The salutatorian is Jonathan Hanna, a computer science major from Phoenixville, Pa.

The student speaker is Jose Dolores Valdievieso, a biomedical engineering major from Houston, Texas.