The Massachusetts Maritime Academy celebrated 2020 graduates from the school over the course of three days at the end of June. 

From Friday, June 26, through Sunday, June 28, the 56 cadets graduating from the school’s graduate program and the 429 cadets graduating from the undergraduate program received their diplomas in a series of seven ceremonies.

There were several cadets who were recognized for their achievements despite being unable to attend in person.

The first of the ceremonies was held on Friday evening for all of the master’s degree candidates.

There were three ceremonies on Saturday, one each for bachelor’s degree candidates in the fields of marine engineering, facilities engineering and marine transportation.

The final ceremonies were held on Sunday, with one for bachelor’s degree candidates in international maritime business, a second that combined candidates in energy systems engineering and marine science, safety and environmental protection, and one for the emergency management field.

The proceedings were held in what the school called “drive-in movie style” in the gymnasium parking lot. Graduates and their families were asked to arrive in the same vehicle. Only the individual graduate was allowed to exit the vehicle to be seated with his or her peers in a socially distanced fashion, eight feet apart.

A professional photographer was present to take pictures of each graduate.

The events were also streamed live and recorded so that family and friends who were unable to attend could still watch the ceremonies.

Captain Brigid Pavilonis, the provost and vice president of academic affairs, began the proceedings, which varied a bit from ceremony to ceremony.

Often, the comments and proceedings were punctuated with car horns.

She praised the emergency management cadets for being funny, intelligent and compassionate people.

“Those diplomas that you hold in your hands are really important, they’re critically important,” she said. “But those personal qualities that you have, that you’ve demonstrated, that’s what makes you a success.”

The school’s president, Rear Admiral Francis X. McDonald, said that the senior class was responsible for coming up with the plan for the proceedings that took health and safety into account.

He also spoke about how important it is to live life with compassion, especially given the events surrounding injustice in the country and in the world.

“Let us not lose sight of the bigger picture of just plain being a good person,” he said. “This world, now more than ever, desperately needs good citizens.”

Once the proceedings had concluded and cadets had returned to their vehicles, families were dismissed row by row. Families were not permitted to stay on campus for any type of photography or gatherings after the ceremonies ended.

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