Despite virus, USU Blanding will honor grads

Utah State University (USU) Blanding will be honoring their 2020 graduating class this year despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Class of 2020 consists of 29 certificates, 71 associate, 26 bachelor’s, and 14 master’s degree receipients. Nine of the 140 students receiving a degree or certificate will be graduating with multiple degrees.
While celebrations have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USU is celebrating its Blanding graduates this month in other ways.
“While we cannot gather in the traditional manner, I wanted to take a moment to let you know how proud I am of you, how proud your professors are of you, how proud the staff is of you, how proud all of us at USU Blanding are of you,” said USU Blanding Associate Vice President Kristian Olsen in a letter sent to graduating students at the Blanding campus.
In that letter, Olsen shared a story about a Blanding graduate who overcame challenges and achieved her dream of a university education.
“Monique is a student who is balancing many things at the same time. She is a mother and a daughter. She does not have a lot, but she has a dream and a passion to get her college degree.
“Over this past year she has had to overcome many challenges from lack of internet to finding transportation to finding someone to help with her kids while she attended class. This past year was never easy.
“There were many times Monique wanted to quit. But through it all, Monique held on to her dream. She knows what she is doing is making a difference.
“One day Monique was doing laundry with her daughter at the laundromat while at the same time doing her homework, which was due soon.
“While doing the laundry, her daughter noticed her mother was busy with her assignments. So the daughter finished up the laundry without interrupting her mom.
“When it was time to go, the young daughter said, ‘Mom, I am so proud of you for always working so hard at home, work, and now with school.’
“Monique didn’t have words to describe the feelings she felt. The way her daughter saw her as an example meant more to her than she could express.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USU postponed its commencement celebration but still intends to celebrate graduates.
Graduates will have opportunities to share their stories on Facebook and Instagram using #USUGRAD2020 while utilizing GIPHY stickers for Instagram and photo frames for Facebook.
They invite all USU grads, alumni, and supporters to wear blue on April 30 and post selfies in support of the class of 2020 using the hashtag.
A crowdsourced Google Map will be generated using comments as a demonstration of those in solidarity with the class of 2020.
The Logan, UT commencement ceremony will be held August 29 (as permitted). See website for more details and specific times (www.usu.edu/commencement/schedule.cfm).
USU Blanding intends on celebrating its class of 2020 at a later date this year.

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