Class of 2021 overcomes pandemic challenges to graduate

Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop the Class of 2021 from achieving its goal of graduating from Manchester University.

In all, 322 graduates received Manchester degrees on May 22 in four ceremonies, allowing social distancing for the graduates and their families.

“Let your success stem from the life you live rather than the title you possess,” Kate Barrow ’21 urged her fellow graduates in videotaped remarks. “I am grateful to have been selected as a student speaker, but will be forever grateful to be a student, classmate, friend and now alumna of the Manchester community.”

At Baccalaureate services Friday that were in person and livestreamed, University Pastor Bekah Houff told graduates that, “Your professors, fellow students, the staff you worked alongside, we are part of each other now. You are part of the legacy of Manchester University. We are a part of your journey toward your best self, a journey to your greatest calling.”

In his prayer, Connor Ladd ’21, a graduate headed to seminary this fall, offered a wish for his classmates: “May we use our education and experiences for bridge-building and peacemaking, helping to create a better world for new generations. May we lead with compassionate hearts, unbreakable spirits and new minds.”

This year, Manchester awarded two honorary doctorate degrees.

Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools from 2003 until her retirement in 2020, received an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at MU’s graduate and professional commencement exercises.

Manchester honored Steve Ford with an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at its undergraduate commencement exercises. A former MU trustee, Ford is president and chief executive officer of Ford Meter Box Company Inc. in Wabash, Ind.