Drew University Hosts Virtual Commencement

Class of 2020 celebrated with virtual speeches, cheers and confetti


MADISON — Drew University held a virtual Commencement ceremony full of Drew pride to send off the Class of 2020.

More than 1,000 people checked in throughout the event, watching the live stream or viewing in one of several watch parties, and filled the live chat with congratulations, emojis, and plenty of exclamation points.

President MaryAnn Baenninger began the festivities via Zoom before giving way to recorded greetings and speeches from Javier Viera, vice provost and dean of the Theological School, William W. Landis III C’85, chair of the Board of Trustees and Debra Liebowitz, Provost & Dean of the College of Liberal Arts & the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies.

Student speakers Pooja Manhas C’20, Jessica Brandt G’20, and Ama Aidoo T’20—representing each of Drew’s three schools—delivered spirited addresses to their classmates.

Provost Liebowitz encouraged virtual cheers. The Forest heard, and responded. President Baenninger honored the 2020 Teachers of the Year, Brianne Barker (CLA), Kathie Brown (Theological School), and Kristen Turner (Caspersen).

Following a symbolic conferral of degrees, a full roster of graduating students scrolled up the screen as faculty and staff offered shoutouts and words of congratulations, inspiration, and gratitude.

Speeches from Madison Mayor Robert Conley, Board of Trustees member Michelle Hampton C’85 and Bishop John R. Schol gave way to a celebratory tossing of confetti and playing of the alma mater to close out the ceremony.