August 20, 2014
Today’s guest post is from Capella’s public relations manager, Alicia Amling, on our commencement this past weekend in Minneapolis.
Last weekend, we had over 800 learners and their families join us in Minneapolis to celebrate commencement. This is the event I most look forward to during the year! I met so many graduates with inspiring stories about persevering through life’s challenges while keeping their educational journey a priority. Experiencing commencement first-hand, meeting with the graduates’ families and just listening to their stories is life changing.
Commencement weekend kicked off with a meet-and-greet event. This was an opportunity for graduates to spend time with the faculty who have supported them through their educational journey. For many, this event was the first time they have met face-to-face! It was touching to see how strong their bond was, even if they had never met in person. There were hugs and smiles in every direction.
A fun new component of the meet and greet this year was the social media lounge. It was a great opportunity for graduates—and faculty—to learn more about Capella’s social media sites and how they can use those sites to network and connect. We had a phenomenal team of Capella employee volunteers who stepped in as social media gurus, chatting all things social media and snapping pictures of the grads’ special moments.
In addition, the commencement team organized a touching military reception, where Capella University President Scott Kinney honored our military graduates.
Friday evening, graduates and their families gathered with the Capella University Board and faculty for dinner and a celebration. Souled, a Motown tribute band, performed, and it was a huge hit! During dinner, we hosted live tweeting on large screens for families, faculty, employees and graduates to give shout-outs and share in the fun using the hashtag #CapellaGrad.
Saturday was THE DAY! We had two commencement ceremonies, one in the morning for the School of Undergraduate Studies, the School of Business and Technology, and the School of Education, and one in the afternoon for the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Sciences and School of Public Service Leadership. Many graduates and families joined us virtually through the live-stream at www.capella.edu/watchcommencement, as well—it was great to see the support pouring in from around the country. Commencement speaker Hill Harper, an award-winning actor, bestselling author and philanthropist, gave a great speech on what it takes to succeed despite challenges one may encounter along the way. It hit the perfect note for Capella’s adult learners who have balanced many priorities in their life while striving for academic excellence.
It was so inspiring to meet and talk with our graduates and their families. The pride and excitement was infectious—I feel so lucky to work for an institution that gets to serve these learners! Looking back at commencement, I feel even more dedicated to Capella and its mission to give adult learners the opportunity to reach their dreams and explore their full potential.