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Online Commencement for the class of 2020
May 8, 2021, 1 p.m.

Virtual Commencement

The commencement exercises for the Class of 2020 will be held online on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

With the coronavirus still significantly present in our communities, an online ceremony will allow us to celebrate you and your accomplishments in the safest way possible. We will honor you as individuals and you’ll be a part of a special communal experience online. We are focused on celebration, the sense of occasion, being with friends and recognizing your unique place in human history. The resilient Class of 2020 will be forever immortalized! Our wish is to create a memorable, uplifting moment for you. 

Download the Commencement Booklet for 2020 (pdf) 

Questions? Contact commencement@emu.edu

Walking Ceremonies

Watch a video of the each ceremony


Click the link below to open a pdf of the program for each ceremony.


Classic Photography and Imaging will provide high quality, professional photographs of each graduate during the Walking Ceremony. A photo will be taken of each graduate in front of an EMU backdrop once they exit the stage.

Following Commencement, photos may be viewed and ordered online at www.classic-photo.com. Classic Photography will also be mailing a proof with your photo image within three days of the Walking Ceremony. If you do not want a proof mailed to your home, please send an email to commencement@emu.edu and let us know. We will remove your name from the mailing list.

This photography service is being provided for those who are interested, and the costs for these services are detailed by Classic Photography and Imaging. Following the Walking Ceremony, if you have specific questions regarding the photos taken by Classic Photography and Imaging, please contact them directly.

As a graduate of the Class of 2020, you hold a special place in our hearts and in the university’s history. We look forward to this chance to honor and celebrate you!

2020 Commencement Speaker:

Dr. Carolyn StaufferCarolyn Stauffer 

Dr. Carolyn Stauffer is Associate Professor of Applied Social Sciences at Eastern Mennonite University. Working in the field of post-traumatic growth, one of Carolyn’s life goals is to amplify voices of healing justice. Carolyn’s passion for people has taken her to 34 countries across the globe. She has taught at the graduate and undergraduate levels at two higher education institutions on the African continent and holds a doctorate in Sociology from the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. She lived and worked in Southern Africa (16 years) and the Middle East (17 years). Stauffer has conducted trainings in Asia, the South Pacific, North America, East and Central Africa, Europe, and the Caribbean. Stauffer weaves the depth and breadth of these many and varied experiences into her teaching both in and outside of the classroom.

During her tenure at EMU, Stauffer has served as co-director of the university’s Biomedicine program as well as taught in Center for Justice and Peacebuilding’’s Women’s Peacebuilding Leadership program. She is the founder of the Silent Violence Project and has served on boards working with HIV/AIDs, the local chapter of UNESCO, and has collaborated on four competitive federal and local grants. Stauffer has 20 years of domestic and international practice experience that complement her work in higher education. Stauffer’s decade at EMU has afforded her concerted time for listening to, being challenged by, and learning from her students.

Celebration of the 2020 Academic Year

With the abrupt end to on-campus activities in March of 2020, we didn't get to celebrate the end of the school year as we usually do. Despite the challenges of a global pandemic, our students and especially our graduates have accomplished much this year, and deserve to be celebrated.  

Below are some of your accomplishments and some well-deserved congratulations. 

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Class of 2020 celebrates May milestone

Disrupted by a global pandemic and scattered away from campus, our community has persisted with time-honored, much beloved rituals of community recognition and also pushed creatively into new digital spaces to share the love for the Class of 2020. 

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EMU Honors and Awards

Eastern Mennonite University held its annual student recognition ceremony during finals week. The various recognitions included honors from academic departments, student life and athletics.

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Donning of the Kente

The Donning of the Kente ceremony is traditionally the first event of Eastern Mennonite University’s Commencement ceremonies.  This spring’s event, along with other graduation events, has been postponed until fall 2020.

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Photo from a student

Virtual Senior Art Show

Nine student artists have banded together to create Eastern Mennonite University’s first virtual senior exhibition, which will be unveiled on Friday, April 24. Professor Cyndi Gusler said that when the group got word in March that they wouldn’t be returning to campus for the semester, the photographers, illustrators, printmakers, videographers, and painters decided to adapt their material to be shown online.

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compilation photo of 10 cords of distinction winners

Cords of Distinction

Ten graduating seniors are the 2020 Cords of Distinction recipients. They will wear blue and gold cords signifying their achievement during the 2020 Commencement, tentatively scheduled for fall 2020. 

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University seal

Academic and Creative Excellence Festival

The Academic and Creative Excellence Festival celebrates the academic excellence of EMU but giving students an opportunity to learn from each other. For 2020 the festival took place virtually, including research, art, posters and papers presented via Zoom and shared on a Moodle site with those who were interested. Isabelle Castillo was this year's guest lecture.

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Graduate Programs

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CJP Blessing Ceremony

With EMU’s Commencement rescheduled to fall 2020, Sunday’s virtual Ceremony of Blessings for graduates of the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding was in no way normal. Yet there was still all the ritual the CJP comunity knows and loves– music, drumming, words from classmates and beloved faculty and staff, heartfelt appreciations that lift up personal journeys and transformations, smiles, joyful dancing, and tears.

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CJP students

CJP Practica Presentations

Second-year master’s degree candidates in the conflict transformation and restorative justice programs at Eastern Mennonite University’s Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (CJP) completed practicums in restorative justice, transforming extremism, identity formation and more. They share about their experiences and professional development during capstone presentations, a highlight of each semester.

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Seminary Capstone Projects

Candidates for Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Leadership at Eastern Mennonite Seminary are required to complete a capstone or ministry specialization project. Their study, research and exploration is tailored to their individual ministry setting and interests, with the goal of empowering their ministry and formation as well as providing a resource to others in the seminary community. 

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footwashing sculpture

Seminary Senior Profiles

Meet some of the 13 seminary graduates for 2020.

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A blessing for you all

Some words from Carmen Schrock-Hurst's sending blessing:

"And now may the God who made you bless you, protect you,  comfort you, and sustain you, reminding you that no matter whether you go or whether you stay, God will be with you. You are not alone. God is with each of you. God is with all of us. Together."


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