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Summer 2020 Commencement caps a historic academic year at University

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Fireworks capped the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Summer 2020 Commencement Friday at Cajun Field, a history-making ceremony held outside because of bans on large indoor gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

UL Lafayette’s 320 total Summer 2020 graduates also closed a record-breaking 2019-2020 academic year. They are among the most graduates in a single academic year in University history.

A total of 3,610 students earned degrees during the Fall 2019, and the spring and summer 2020 semesters combined. Among that number are a record 636 master’s degrees.

The 2,182 women and 1,428 men who earned degrees during the 2019-2020 academic year are the most in history. The University also awarded 161 degrees to Hispanic students, another record. The 92 Asian students who earned degrees are tied for the most in school history.

On Friday, bachelor’s degrees were awarded to 215 graduates. Master’s degrees were awarded to 97 graduates, the most ever at a summer ceremony. Eight graduates earned doctoral degrees.

Graduates represented 37 parishes, 18 states and 10 countries.

Dr. Joseph Savoie, University president, praised Summer 2020 graduates for their academic achievements, and for their fortitude and determination. He encouraged them to rely on those characteristics “to play a role in the shape of things to come.”

“Our recovery from this pandemic will find its strength from your ideas, your ingenuity, your passions, the helping hand you give to others, and the power you discover in yourselves,” Savoie said.

Dr. Dianne Olivier was Commencement speaker. Olivier is coordinator of the doctoral program in the Department of Educational Foundations and Leadership in the College of Education. She holds the Joan D. and Alexander S. Haig/BORSF Endowed Professorship in Education.

Olivier reminded graduates their degrees – and their ability to overcome adversity – have positioned them for success.

“In the last few months, you have experienced unanticipated challenges, and yet you have succeeded. You have demonstrated you are resilient, persistent, tenacious, determined, committed, adaptable, and that you have grit,” Olivier said.

View a list of Summer 2020 graduates.

Photo caption: University of Louisiana at Lafayette Summer 2020 graduates became part of history Friday night at Cajun Field. They are among a record 3,610 students who earned degrees during the 2019-2020 academic year. (Photo credit: Rachel Rafati / University of Louisiana at Lafayette)