To the Summer Graduates of the Class of 2020:
In these difficult times, we have the unique opportunity to reflect on the past, and remind ourselves of all the times we have risen to the occasion in order to overcome adversity. Not only did we rise, but we became stronger. We often don’t know how strong we are until our strength is tested. It is the way that we react to the adversity, and not the adversity itself, that makes us stronger. You, the summer class of 2020, know all too well what it is like to face adversity. During your time at Coastal Carolina University, you were faced with Hurricane Matthew in 2016, Hurricane Irma in 2017, Hurricane Florence in 2018, Hurricane Dorian in 2019 and countless other individual challenges in pursuit of earning your degree. Together, as Teal Nation, we will overcome all the adversity surrounding COVID-19 in order to celebrate all that you, the summer class of 2020, have accomplished.
I truly wish I was not sharing the same news with you as I did with the Spring graduates. The decision to adjust plans for the spring and summer 2020 traditional commencement ceremonies has been one of the most difficult tasks I have been faced with during my 13-year tenure as President. While I know this decision is a disappointment for you, your family and friends—and for me as well—the health and safety of not only the CCU community, but the surrounding communities, the nation, and the world as a whole, must remain our top priority.
Commencement is the highlight of the academic year and a time when we, as a University, proudly present our newest Chanticleer graduates to the world. It is an exciting day filled with many emotions; and it is all for you, our graduates. I have had the privilege to experience this day in various roles; and without a doubt, my favorite roles have been as the President of Coastal Carolina University and as the parent of three CCU graduates.
As President, I was looking forward to spending one of my final commencement ceremonies with the class of 2020; watching all of you cross the stage and shaking your hands in congratulations. While I may no longer get the opportunity to celebrate with you in person, I hope you will join the University as we identify ways to celebrate your graduation. We will be inviting spring and summer 2020 graduates to participate in a future ceremony on campus. I understand the significance of having your family and friends with you to celebrate this defining moment in your lives. Once more information is provided on the management of COVID-19, CCU will provide information on future ceremonies for summer 2020 graduates on the commencement website. Our hope is to hold those special ceremonies in the very near future.
As a parent and educator, I am heartbroken that you will not receive the traditional ceremony and recognition deserved at the time of your degree being conferred. For your benefit, I will confer your degrees through a virtual ceremony on Friday, August 7, at 6 P.M., which means you will have all the rights and privileges you have earned as a graduate of CCU.
While this situation is unlike anything we could have ever expected, we know the hard work you have put into earning your degree, and we are going to do everything we can to honor you and give you the celebration you deserve. We are extremely proud of each of you, and we can’t wait to see all of the amazing things you will do. You’re a Chanticleer, tenacious and true, you’ll fight until the end for CCU.
David A. DeCenzo, Ph.D.
Coastal Carolina University