After pandemic restrictions turned last year’s event into a livestream virtual production, Rice University's 107th and 108th commencement ceremonies will once again become an in-person affair, albeit with safety measures enforced in a much more spacious setting.
Family and friends of the Class of 2020 graduates have their cameras at the ready as Duncan College processes through the Sallyport — the final college of the day to make the march before the May 15 commencement ceremony that evening. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow)
Following a morning commencement ceremony that combined advanced degree and doctoral candidates of the Classes of 2020 and 2021, freshly minted Ph.D.s headed to the Graduate Commons outside Valhalla for the traditional hoodings by their advisers.
Members of Sid Richardson College’s A-Team — including resident advisor (RA) Cam Yearty; college coordinator Lisa Galloy; RA Kasey Leigh Yearty, the Wiess Instructor of Chemistry; and RA William Edmond — escorted their Class of 2020 graduates through the Sallyport ahead of the May 15 commencement in Rice Stadium. (Photo by Jeff Fitlow)
With their mortarboards visible from the stadium stands above, many graduates took the opportunity to both decorate and coordinate them with face masks. (Photos by Jeff Fitlow)
Commencement ceremonies began the morning of May 13 for some members of the Rice community, including President David Leebron, who had the honor of commissioning Rice Naval ROTC members who were graduating and becoming officers of the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marines.
Postponed by the pandemic, commencement for the Class of 2020's advanced and doctoral students took place May 15 in a combined ceremony with those in the Class of 2021.
Postponed by the pandemic, commencement finally came for these proud Owls.
“You chose Rice, I believe, not because it was easy, but because it was hard,” said Rice President David Leebron.
Many Rice parents took the opportunity to fly for the first time since the pandemic to visit Houston for graduation May 14 and 15.
Some seniors strolled through the Sallyport with their cellphones in hand, families on video calls from afar.
Rice Stadium, which has hosted everything from the 1974 Super Bowl to Rice Football's legendary 1994 victory over the University of Texas, made history once again this weekend when it hosted back-to-back commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021.
Empathy is needed more than ever, said Nicholas Kristof, who encouraged two years of Rice University graduates to use their skill and kindness to make a difference, even if their actions only seem to be a “drop in the bucket.”