“I know this last semester has been a tough one, but you’ve shown yourselves to be serious, dedicated, and flexible—well-equipped to face the pressures and challenges you’ll encounter in your careers,” noted Dean Massey in a virtual video message to the school’s graduating seniors. In addition to skill sets in business, “you are graduating with multidisciplinary skills and perspectives that will make you an asset to any organization,” she added.
The dean’s remarks prefaced Isenberg’s first-ever online celebration in honor of its graduating seniors. No customary commencement here—Isenberg honored seniors and their families on May 8 with virtual video reflections and praise from professors, alumni, and fellow classmates. Seniors received awards for academic excellence, leadership, and global citizenship. The GE Foundation recognized Isenberg’s Jack Welch scholar, and Poets and Quants named two Isenberg students among its “Best and Brightest.” Each Isenberg department offered separate video remarks from its own student speaker, faculty member, and alumni.
Two hundred members of the senior class from all seven Isenberg majors participated in a virtual yearbook, sharing their headshots and brief messages. Seniors also created an extensive memory gallery with upbeat photos from their Isenberg years. And the university’s own campus-wide video on behalf of Isenberg highlighted the school's alumni and associates: Earl Stafford ’76, Kelly Fredrickson ’88, Assistant Professor of Accounting Yoon Ju Kang, and UMass hockey stars Cale Makar and John Leonard.
Graduate Programs Celebrate Online
In a separate ceremony the same day, graduating MBA students (both on-campus and online) took their traditional graduation oath via Zoom, with Dean Massey leading the ceremony. They viewed brief messages from the dean and Linda Enghagen, Isenberg’s associate dean of graduate and professional programs. And they watched congratulatory videos from memorable professors and staff members. Like the undergraduates, they posted profiles in a virtual yearbook. Not to be outdone, Isenberg’s graduating PhD students received robes and participated in their own virtual ceremony.
The school’s celebrations reflected its prowess with online education technologies. Isenberg has been a leader in the online MBA market for two decades and is currently ranked first in the United States by the Financial Times. That comfort level with technology did nothing to detract from Isenberg's successful graduation festivities. And the Class of 2020 can look forward to celebrating once more: On a date to be named, the university has pledged to hold an on-campus commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020.