Professor Claudia Green, director of Pace’s Hospitality and Tourism Management program, was faced with a challenge as she prepared to teach her civic engagement and public values course remotely: How would the class build a community project when the students were located around the world?
Planning Commencement is no easy feat even in the best of times, but this year’s event posed significant challenges. Social distancing and mask requirements, the availability of venues that were now being used as vaccination sites, and the restrictions related to travel were difficult hurdles to clear, but the Commencement team, with support from faculty, staff, and University administration, was able to create a truly special and memorable graduation season for the Class of 2021.
This year’s annual Commencement season included in-person celebrations that were later incorporated into the virtual ceremonies.
Nearly one thousand members of the Class of 2021 returned to campus—some for the first time all year—to take part in our in-person celebrations, where they were able to walk across the stage and have their names called. Surrounded by friends and faculty, students were able to have their moment in the sun, even if it was a private, graduates-only affair.
“What truly makes this day and this milestone special, is the grit and hard work that got you here,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James.
“I knew it was going to be important to capture the stage walks for the family and friends that were unable to attend,” said Connor Morgan ’21. “I really wanted to up the ante of this year’s virtual ceremonies because the Class of 2021 really deserved something special.”
Not only was Connor a graduate this year, but he was also the mastermind behind the production of the virtual ceremonies that were streamed online to nearly 25,000 viewers. Connor is the owner of 18 Mile Media, a full-service video production agency that really took off after he started working with the University on video projects as a first-year student.
For three days in May, Connor and the 18 Mile Media team filmed hundreds of Pace soon-to-be grads as they donned their academic regalia and strutted their stuff across the stages in Pleasantville and at Pier 17 in New York City. That footage was then incorporated into the larger ceremony videos so that the folks at home could see their grad’s moment.
On May 17, thousands of Pace Community members (plus tons of friends and families) were able to revel in the conferral of degrees via an interactive YouTube live stream held by each respective school, and more than 25,000 people from around the globe have watched since.
“What truly makes this day and this milestone special, is the grit and hard work that got you here,” said New York State Attorney General Letitia James, JD, as she addressed the graduates in New York City. “Today represents the culmination of so many moments that occurred over hundreds of days spanning many years.”
Hats off to the grads.