Last Updated on May 8, 2021 6:58 pm
Friday, May 7, 2021
Today we were thrilled to honor the Class of 2021 during our first of 13 in-person commencement ceremonies since December of 2019. After a year and a half, it was moving to see graduates in regalia and loved ones looking on with pride. We are so very pleased we can offer in-person ceremonies. As more and more people get vaccinated, we look forward to fewer COVID-19 restrictions, a return to the personal interactions we all miss and a fully in-person fall semester. I encourage you to look through these images to experience many touching tributes for and from our graduates that offer a look into the lasting relationships built among Mountaineers.
Our commencement website also includes a virtual conferral of degrees for those who chose not to, or were unable to, participate in the ceremonies on campus, and the website will offer daily links to the livestreamed ceremonies so graduates and their families can relive this momentous occasion at any time.
As we conclude the spring 2021 semester and look ahead to the summer and fall, I want to thank our faculty for completing this semester with grace and excellence; our staff for unrelenting and often extraordinary support; and our students for your collective good spirit, enthusiasm and fresh perspectives.
Through campus communications and public health campaigns in the local community, we continue to champion the importance of getting vaccinated and following all safety precautions related to COVID-19. We update our dashboard with weekly data each Monday, and the totals for this week thus far are below:
- To date, we have administered 4,280 COVID-19 vaccines to faculty, staff, students and the general public.
- We have conducted 57,257 COVID-19 tests on campus, to date, and this week we have conducted 295 COVID-19 tests, with a positivity rate of 1.02% — significantly lower than the state’s latest positivity rate of 4.4%.
This morning I was proud to announce Dr. Heather Hulburt Norris has been named provost and executive vice chancellor after serving as interim provost since February 2020. She has earned respect and trust across campus, and I appreciate her passion for advancing the success of our great university.
Congratulations are also in order for renowned climate scientist Dr. Baker Perry, who was once again featured in National Geographic, and gained international attention for his groundbreaking work. After helping to install the highest weather station in the world on Mount Everest, he recently served as co-lead of an expedition to place a weather station just below the summit of the Tupungato Volcano in Chile — making it the highest weather station in the Southern and Western hemispheres.
The final weeks of the semester have been filled with important end-of-academic-year meetings. Last week, I appreciated the opportunity to share university updates and engage in discussions with several groups, including the university’s Diversity and Inclusion Accountability Team and Faculty Senate. My remarks to Faculty Senate are available to read here. Last Friday’s campus budget presentations for our faculty and staff shared the major goals and accomplishments of the last year, and the budget priorities for the coming year.
As we celebrate our graduates, our hearts also remain with the many people affected by last week's tragedy. Please remember counseling resources for students, as well as for faculty and staff, are available.
I look forward to presiding over our remaining commencement ceremonies in the coming days as we honor the accomplishments of the Class of 2021 and the unwavering support of our faculty, staff and App State families.
Sheri Everts, Chancellor