This editors' note is featured in the 2020 Commencement special issue.
To the Class of 2020,
If there’s one thing we’ve learned to expect in these past months, it’s the unexpected. Emails flood our inboxes, each expressing the consequences of “these unprecedented, uncertain times.” While the context of your departure from Dartmouth is certainly unique, we know that this is not the first time your Dartmouth experience has been unpredictable. Many of you came to campus in 2016 with a plan: an intended major, a tentative course schedule and a mental list of ways to make the most out of your brief time here. Many of you then realized that it was alright to deviate from that plan, or even throw it away. You learned to embrace the unexpected and understood that moments of deep uncertainty are part of self-discovery. After all, there is no one “right” way to do Dartmouth.
In this special issue, we hope to have captured a glimpse of the multifaceted experiences of the Class of 2020. The symbolism of Commencement as the transition from one journey to another inspired us to put change and preservation into perspective: We investigated student-led change in Dartmouth’s queer community and the progress of Student Assembly, as well as the enduring bonds between alumni and current students. We described how you overcame the challenge of finishing and delivering your culminating experiences remotely. We examined how you showed leadership in moments of crisis and gave back to those in need.
By working to strengthen students’ voices on campus and fighting for accountability and inclusion, you have shaped our college experience and made Dartmouth the home it is today. You each have made Dartmouth your own, and we thank you for that. We promise to do the same.
This is not the Commencement anyone imagined — that much is evident — but it will certainly go down in history as one of the most memorable. When uncertainty hit, you displayed the kind of leadership that inspires us to follow in your footsteps. Your experiences will serve as a sign of resilience and hope for classes to come.
Congratulations, Class of 2020!
Christina Baris ’22 and Ioana Andrada Pantelimon ’22