On May 15, 2020, the 41st Honors Convocation Ceremony took place virtually to honor the more than 600 juniors and seniors who earned a cumulative grade point average of 3.60 or higher out of a possible 4.0 as of December 2019. View the recording.
The event was originally scheduled to take place on April 3, 2020, in Baker Hall in Zoellner Arts Center and was moved to the online format in light of the spring semester’s remote academic environment.
In keeping with tradition, the program featured student speakers from each undergraduate college.
Jennifer Jensen, deputy provost for academic affairs, shared opening remarks and introduced the student speakers.
“We celebrate [our students’] efforts and achievements and recognize the family and friends who have supported them throughout their academic journeys,” said Jensen. “Our honorees embody the academic excellence that is at the core of Lehigh.”
Reflecting on an Unprecedented Semester
Jensen introduced and thanked Patrick V. Farrell, who will be returning to the faculty at the end of June, for his years of service as provost and vice president for academic affairs.
Farrell acknowledged the unique challenges of the semester and commended students for their response. “The key for success, as I'm sure most of you have figured out, is your ability, willingness and determination to persist when things are not going as smoothly as you'd like...” Farrell said. “The flexibility you all exhibited about being able to shift quickly to a completely different mode of learning and teaching is impressive. But frankly, this is not the only time you will be called upon to be flexible...you are likely in your career going to [experience] equally, if not more, abrupt and dramatic change.
“So while it may not have felt like your learning how to deal with the flexibility here was a key part of your Lehigh experience—and it certainly wasn't one we planned to be part of your Lehigh experience—figuring out how to work through that, work with that, perhaps even on occasion take advantage of that, actually will turn out to be in my view yet one more thing you take away from your Lehigh experience that I think will serve you well into the future.”
A common thread running through the remarks of each of the student speakers—all graduating seniors—echoed Farrell’s reflection and underscored the message that despite the challenging experience of being removed from in-person instruction and the on-campus residential environment this semester, the Lehigh experience has prepared them to be resilient.