Release Date: September 30, 2021
BUFFALO, N.Y. — Rutuja Shinde had so many people to thank after graduating in May 2020 with her master of architecture degree from the University at Buffalo. Unfortunately, COVID-19 forced UB to postpone in-person commencement exercises for the Class of 2020, and Shinde wasn’t able to personally thank her professors and classmates.
That changes on Friday, Oct. 1, when UB welcomes back nearly 1,000 members of the Class of 2020, including Shinde, for two in-person commencement ceremonies.
Both will be held inside Alumni Arena on the university’s North Campus. The undergraduate ceremony will start at 10 a.m., with approximately 370 graduates participating. The graduate ceremony is set for 2 p.m. and will have 687 participants.
Both ceremonies are being livestreamed.
Media availability: UB Provost A. Scott Weber will be available for media interviews for a few minutes beginning at 9:20 a.m. to the right of the commencement stage.
In the spring of 2020, the university promised members of the Class of 2020 that it would welcome them back to campus to celebrate commencement when it was safer to do so.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic required us to hold our 2020 commencement exercises in a virtual format, we are thrilled to now have this opportunity to safely honor our 2020 graduates in a manner befitting their accomplishments — at UB, in their regalia, walking the stage and sharing in this happy occasion with family, friends and classmates,” says UB President Satish K. Tripathi.
Registered participants received up to four guest tickets. As announced previously, all individuals attending public events in Alumni Arena, including the commencement ceremonies, must show proof they have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. Masks are also required for the event.
Shinde is thrilled to be able to come back to participate in the graduate ceremony Friday afternoon. After Shinde received her master’s degree from UB’s School of Architecture and Planning, the school invited her to stick around to teach an architectural design studio. She stayed for a year before landing a job as a designer/Arch 1 with HYL Architecture in Washington, D.C., a few months ago.
Now, she can’t wait to reconnect with classmates and professors. “I’m looking forward to meeting my classmates to congratulate them for the hurdles they have passed through this difficult time,” says Shinde, who will be participating in a panel discussion the School of Architecture and Planning is hosting this evening with members of the school’s Class of 2020.
UB’s virtual commencement in May 2020 was nice, but the personal contact was a big missing piece, Shinde says. “I had so many people to thank through my journey, but I couldn’t,” she says. “Through the in-person commencement, I’m really looking forward to meeting and personally thanking my professors, as well as my classmates, for helping me be who I am today.”
Unfortunately, Shinde’s family back home in India won’t be able to join the in-person ceremony due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, but Shinde is happy to have several friends in attendance who are also participating in commencement.
The commencement exercises are taking place as part of Homecoming 2021 at UB. The festivities began on Monday (Sept. 27) and continue through Saturday with the UB football game vs. Western Michigan.