IOWA CITY, IA– More than 5,700 University of Iowa undergraduate, graduate, and professional students graduated this spring under extraordinary circumstances.

Alexandra Byrnes of Osage, IA 50461 was among the students conferred their degrees. Byrnes was a student in the Tippie College of Business whose program of study was Finance. The degree awarded was a Bachelor of Business Administration.

The month of May usually finds the UI’s beautiful campus teeming with families and students in their caps and gowns. They pose in front of Old Capitol, they walk along the Iowa River, and they visit the haunts and hangouts that have been a big part of their time on campus. However, the effects of COVID-19 forced these important celebrations to take place elsewhere. Shouts of joy and pride happened in homes all around the world, where students and their families are safe.

During this worldwide pandemic, the university supported commencement celebrations despite being unable to host them in person. Members of the Hawkeye community filmed short videos of encouragement, and each college produced a virtual livestream ceremony. Packages containing commemorative programs and other celebratory items were sent to graduating Hawkeyes everywhere, and those students who want to walk across a graduation stage in person will be able to do so at a future ceremony.

In addition to these preparations, teachers have continued teaching, students have continued to study, and staff have remained dedicated to keeping research, education, and service alive in these uncertain times. We are all finding ways to support and love one another, because that’s what Hawkeyes do.

Hawkeyes are sewing face masks, donating plasma, coordinating resources, and volunteering to help those in need. Hawkeyes are treating patients, helping public officials understand the virus, and donating funds to students in financial hardship.

Hawkeyes step up, and as another class of students prepares to leave this university, the global pandemic has reminded us just how important that is. No one is certain how or when life will return to normal, but the world still needs doctors, teachers, nurses, neuroscientists, journalists, poets, painters, and athletes. The world still needs historians, economists, physicists, pharmacists, and musicians. The world still needs Hawkeyes.

So, thank you, graduates, for spending time with us in Iowa City. The faculty and staff of the University of Iowa are proud to have known and supported you, especially recently, when you showed us how caring, compassionate, and hardworking you are. We will miss you. You will always have a home with us. Now, go forth; the world needs you.

Go Hawks.

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