Maryland Today | ‘We Really Are Terrapin Strong’ – Maryland Today

Posted: May 22, 2021 at 1:52 am

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Basking in warm sunshine and an atmosphere of optimism, the Terp community came together today at Maryland Stadium to honor the Class of 2021s achievements in the face of COVID-19s unprecedented challenges.

We really are Terrapin Strong, University of Maryland President Darryll J. Pines told the crowd at the 11 a.m. commencement ceremony. Seeing your faces in person is a sign. Its a sign that we are beginning to win this fight against this virus. Its a sign that your collective resilience and strength and grit is stronger than any challenge you will face.

The 8,500 members of the Spring 2021 graduating class are being honored today with two in-person, outdoor ceremonies at the stadium, divided by school and collegethe first open-air graduations in 66 years. Graduates could bring two guests, sat in distanced households of three for safety reasons and were sent off with an appearance from Testudo and a fireworks display. Spring 2020 and Winter 2020 graduates, who had only virtual ceremonies due to the pandemic, were invited to attend as well.

We were reminded that each day is precious and many of us vow to never again take for granted the everyday parts of life, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said in a recorded message. I hope that as you graduate today, you remember that each of us can make the days ahead count that much more.

Hannah Rhee 21, the student speaker and computer science major, said the pandemic and recent social justice challenges facing the entire nation are reminders that asking for help and relying on friends and family are proof of strength, not weakness.

Through these relationships I learned about the world, made lasting friendships and developed my character, she said. I believe we are emerging as fearless Terps, more thoughtful and more kind because of our experiences.

The main, recorded address was delivered by Peter Chapman, president and CEO of IonQ, a leading quantum computing company spun off from UMD research and headquartered in the nearby Discovery District. The son of a NASA scientist-astronaut and formerly director of engineering for Amazon Prime, Chapman urged graduates to meet the future with optimism and look to the promise of technology in answering challenges ranging from disease to climate change.

I know that for some of you, this day is bittersweet, he said. But for all that youve lost, for all that we have all lost, youve gained a lot, too: memories and friendships, new strengths and new skills. And today, a degree from the University of Maryland.

More than 8,500 students were granted degrees at the Spring 2021 ceremonies at Maryland Stadium. Graduates from Spring and Winter 2020 were also invited to celebrate in-person after having virtual ceremonies due to COVID-19. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

UMD President Darryll J. Pines praised graduates for their resiliency over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated changes inside and out of the classroom. Photo by John T. Consoli

Senior marshal Alyssa Conway represented the College of Education at Fridays ceremonies. Senior marshals are chosen for academic excellence, service, extracurriculars and personal growth to assist at commencement. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Peter Chapman, president and CEO of quantum computing company IonQ, delivered the main commencement address via recording. He urged graduates to be optimistic about the future and the promise that technology holds for issues ranging from disease to climate change. Photo by John T. Consoli

Graduates were able to invite two guests to join them at morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies in Maryland Stadium separated by school and college. The socially distanced events marked the first in-person graduation festivities since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spring 2020. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

Student speaker Hannah Rhee, a computer science major, emphasized the importance of relationships to support students studying through the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and social unrest brought on by racism and inequality. Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle

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Maryland Today | 'We Really Are Terrapin Strong' - Maryland Today

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May 22nd, 2021 at 1:52 am

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