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VIDEOS: ETSU awards 2,247 degrees in Class of 2020 virtual commencement

Johnson City Press • May 9, 2020 at 9:24 PM

In a historic first, East Tennessee State University conferred degrees for more than 2,200 graduates in virtual ceremonies Saturday.

The ceremonies, which were broken into streaming sessions for each college and posted on YouTube, featured a photo of each grad as the name was read. The online commencement was necessitated by novel coronavirus pandemic precautions preventing large gatherings. Graduates had completed their studies in online classes after the university shut down the campus in March.

Legendary entertainer Dolly Parton delivered a special recorded message for the ceremonies.

Parton told graduates she was sorry they could not be together in person on the special day.

“I don’t know about you, but I am a tired of being in the house, and I am really sorry that your special day of celebration has to be on video,” Parton said. “But each of you have a lot to be grateful for and to be proud of. You’ve achieved a very important milestone in your life, and every one of you have a great future.

She told graduates things would be better than ever once COVID-19 is in the rear view mirror.

“That’s the thing about life, though. You’ll have some great times, and you’ll also have some challenges,” Parton said. “Just try to make the best out of it. Make it work. Work hard, and help people and everything else around you as best you can, and this will all take care of itself.

“So do like I do in the meantime — follow your dreams,” she said. “Thank you for letting me take part in your special day, and take that East Tennessee Buccaneer spirt with you, Class of 2020.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee also addressed the graduates remotely.

“While your celebration this year may be a little bit different than they have in years past, embrace that moment, because you are a unique class yourself,” Lee said. “You certainly have accomplished much to get yourself into the position that you’re in now — hard work, commitment, lots of effort.”

Number of degrees awarded: 2,247

Bachelor’s degrees: 1,729

Master’s degrees: 439

Doctoral degrees: 69

Number of graduate certificates awarded: 44

Number of baccalaureate degrees awarded with honors: 831

• cum laude (3.5-3.64) 200

• magna cum laude (3.65-3.84) 319

• summa cum laude (3.85-4.0) 312

Videos can be viewed at the links below or online at www.etsu.edu/classof2020/:

College of Arts and Sciences

College of Business and Technology

Biomedical Science, Global Sport Leadership, and Pharmacy Studies Virtual Commencement

Clemmer College of Education

Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Science Virtual Commencement

Continuing Studies Virtual Commencement

Nursing Virtual Commencement

Public Health Virtual Commencement

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