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Monmouth College to celebrate Class of 2020 with virtual Commencement in spring, campus ceremony in fall

Duane Bonifer
MONMOUTH, Ill. – Members of the Monmouth College Class of 2020 will get two opportunities to celebrate their graduation this year.

The liberal arts and sciences college will hold a virtual Commencement on the weekend of May 16-17, then graduates will return to campus in the fall for a Sept. 19 ceremony that celebrates Monmouth’s 163rd Commencement.

Sam Vaghar – a social entrepreneur who leads a dynamic and growing global non-profit organization with the mission to empower young people to effect change – will address members of the Class of 2020 during the virtual event and then again at the Sept. 19 ceremony.

“Commencement Day is the highlight of the Monmouth College year for Lobie and me,” said Monmouth President Clarence R. Wyatt. “That is the day that we get to recognize the hard work of our students and the dedication of the faculty and staff who have guided, encouraged – and occasionally nudged – them to that Sunday in May.

“It breaks our hearts that we won’t be together in person on that day this year, but we will gather virtually to celebrate our seniors, their families, and their faculty and staff mentors. And we will come together in person in the fall to share and celebrate again.”

The virtual Commencement will be posted in two parts on the College’s website ( The first part, to be posted on May 16, will be a condensed version of the College’s Senior Gala. The second part, to be posted on May 17, will combine the College’s baccalaureate and commencement ceremonies. Wyatt and Dean of the Faculty Mark Willhardt will read all graduates’ names and, following College tradition, will recite in Latin the presentation of the class and the conferral of degrees.

The Senior Toast will be livestreamed the evening of May 16 on the College’s Facebook page (

The Honor Walk – in which seniors present a specially minted commemorative coin to honor a family member, faculty or staff member, or friend who provided inspiration, motivation and support during their Monmouth career – will be celebrated throughout graduation week on Monmouth’s social media channels. It is normally held on the Saturday afternoon before Commencement.

Seniors are usually required to make a donation to the senior class gift to participate in the Honor Walk. But for this year, a donor made a gift on behalf of every graduating senior so that the entire class can participate in the Honor Walk. The specially minted commemorative coin will be mailed to all graduating seniors, and they will be invited to record a brief video message to share with the Monmouth community.

Vaghar, the Commencement speaker, will also receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters Degree from the College. He is co-founder and executive director of the Boston-based Millennium Campus Network, a global non-profit organization with a mission to bolster students’ civic engagement to tackle poverty, discrimination and climate change. Founded in 2007 and collaborating with the United Nations Academic Impact, the non-partisan MCN trains students on college and university campuses through the innovative Millennium Fellowship.