LSU Honors Close to 7,000 Graduates from 2020 with In-Person Ceremonies
BATON ROUGE – Keeping his word, President Tom Galligan recognized the LSU 2020 graduates with in-person ceremonies on Friday, May 14, in the Pete Maravich Assembly Center.
“Last spring, we gave you our word that no matter how long we had to wait, we would gather in person to celebrate your awesome achievement and cheer you on as you walk across this stage,” Galligan said. “The wait is over. Your day is here, and after everything we have endured and overcome over the past year, today’s commencement feels even more special to me, and I hope it does for all of you, too.”
The Class of 2020 is made up of 6,922 total graduates for the year. Breaking it down the full year of graduates, there are 4,974 bachelor’s degree recipients and 1,948 recipients of graduate degrees. There are 3,881 women in the class and 3,041 men. Graduates this year represent 60 Louisiana parishes, and 49 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Internationally, there are graduates from 71 countries, ranging from Afghanistan to Vietnam. Undergraduates range in age from 19 to 59 years old, while LSU’s eldest graduate earned her doctoral degree at the age of 71.
Joining Galligan on stage for the ceremonies was LSU Executive Vice President & Provost Stacia Haynie.
“The class of 2020 is truly unique. There is no other way to put it,” Haynie said. “These graduates have persevered and faced challenges throughout their academic careers that no other students had before. When you advance in your career and younger colleagues complain about this or that – you will rightly be able to say ‘Seriously – I survived a pandemic.’”
During the ceremony, Galligan delivered the keynote address, and Daisha Badon, who earned a bachelor’s degree in music with a minor in theater from the College of Music & Dramatic Arts in May 2020, performed the National Anthem and LSU Alma Mater.
For his keynote address, Galligan told a couple of stories about father, the first of which illustrated the importance of planning for the future while always remaining flexible in the moment. His father had a fear of being robbed and had planned how he would respond if he was robbed. When that inevitably happened to him, it didn’t go quite as he had planned.
“My father’s willingness to remain flexible and deviate from his plan made the difference,” Galligan said. “So, remember to be flexible as you plan for the future. Be ready to change your mind. Be ready to follow an alternate path if the one you chose is blocked. But, I am going to offer up one exception to this rule of flexibility. Please remain inflexible when it comes to this simple maxim: As you make your mark, try not to leave any bruises.”
Galligan wrapped up his speech with another story about his “frugal” father, this time in which he pushed to save a few dollars at the movie theater by insisting Galligan and his friend get the children’s rate for tickets, despite them being well past the children ticket age cutoff. At the age of 91, Galligan’s father brought up the ticket incident that had occurred decades prior.
Galligan said, “We are sitting quietly, just enjoying being in other’s company, when he suddenly says out of nowhere, ‘Tom, we were wrong.’ ‘What?’ I respond, unsure what he was referring to. ‘We were wrong about the movie tickets … We should have paid full price. We did the wrong thing.”
At 91 years old, Galligan’s father was still examining the life he had lived.
“After all he had done and seen, he was still weighing the rights and the wrongs. He was still looking not only at the mark he had left, but the bruises he had caused. For that, as his son, I will always be proud,” Galligan said.
Galligan said he shared those stories with the graduates because he wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for his father and his mother, whose love, support and encouragement made all the difference in his life.
Galligan ended his address by asking all of the outstanding Class of 2020 graduates to join him in giving special thanks and round of applause for parents, family members, friends and loved ones who have supported, cheered, cajoled, pushed, and loved on them through the years.
“I daresay that without them you might not be sitting here, either,” he said.
For more information on LSU commencement, please visit www.lsu.edu/commencement.
The two ceremonies held for the Class of 2020 are available to watch on LSU’s YouTube channel:
Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations