For Cyan Scott of Buena Park, Calif., a Psychology major, choosing a small college on the opposite coast was a gamble that paid off.
Scott graduated from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, N.Y. on Saturday, May 22 and was the only California native in the Mount's Class of 2021. The dedicated student has already been accepted into the graduate program at John Jay College in New York.
"Honestly, it [four years of college] went by so fast," Scott explained. "But I'm excited for what's next."
What attracted Scott to a college nearly 3,000 of miles away from her hometown – a staggering 41 hour drive? It was the close-knit campus that is one of the Mount's flagship attributes.
"Everybody here knows everybody," she said. "The support here is incredible."
At the Mount, an unusual academic year required an unusual Commencement. In the last three semesters, the Mount community rose to the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic. After a necessary switch to online courses in March of 2020, students saw the return of face-to-face learning in the fall. The Mount community did its best to keep friends, coworkers, and professors safe by adhering to proper safety guidelines.
For graduating seniors, their reward was an in-person Commencement with a reduced, but very enthusiastic, crowd.
The Class of 2021 – which includes more than 500 graduates – was recognized over the course of two ceremonies. On Friday, May 21, Nursing students were honored, and on Saturday, May 22, all other majors walked across the Commencement stage.
But there were also dozens of Class of 2020 Nursing graduates who were recognized on Friday, May 21 as well. And on Sunday, May 23, the other 2020 grads finally enjoyed a live Commencement, making up for the virtual graduation they celebrated last year.
Of the 523 Class of 2021 graduates, the college awarded 105 master's degrees and 418 bachelor's degrees. More than 170 students earned degrees in Nursing and related fields, and another 70 earned degrees in Business.
Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the Mount, congratulated the seniors and their families on a job well done. Making the accomplishment even more impressive, he said, was the fact that the graduates thrived in college despite the hardships caused by the pandemic.
"You have lived through a world-wide historical event," said Dr. Adsit. "This [pandemic] is something people will be reading about hundreds of years from now. And you did it with grace, and grit, and determination."