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With 'poise, perseverance and determination," Mitchell College's Class of 2021 graduates amid pandemic

New London — Mitchell College’s Class of 2021 graduated on Saturday, with their accomplishments celebrated during a virtual commencement ceremony in the evening and smaller in-person events earlier in the day. There were 141 students in the graduating class.

The optional, smaller in-person events were held to accommodate COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. College President Tracy Y. Espy presented the graduates with diplomas and a speech, along with Rick D'Avino, chair of the college’s board of trustees.

Dr. Christopher Parker, president and chief executive officer of the National Junior College Athletic Association who serves on the boards of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the United States International Federation, delivered the address during the virtual ceremony on Saturday for the college’s 77th commencement, which was posted on the college’s website. He spoke about the resiliency members of the Class of 2021 developed as they adjusted to college life during the pandemic.

“Dr. Parker is a visionary advocate for access to education for young people from all walks of life,” Espy had said in an announcement of the graduation speaker. “He is also quite passionate about baseball, as a former coach and player. He understands the nature of curveballs — something the Class of 2021 knows well, as they have adjusted to a new normal with poise, perseverance and determination during the pandemic.”

During the virtual ceremony, D’Avino welcomed students, the Rev. Carolyn Patierno of All Souls Unitarian Universalist Congregation delivered the invocation and benediction, and Espy gave a presidential address and closing remarks, according to the program.

D’Avino presented awards to students, interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Marilyn Sutton-Haywood presented the candidates for degrees, and Espy conferred the degrees. Taya Gollsneider of the Class of 2021 delivered the student address.

Mitchell College Select Chorus performed the national anthem and the alma mater, and Hannah Corrigan of the Class of 2021 conducted the ringing of the bell. 


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