As the LeBow College of Business celebrated the Class of 2021 in a virtual Commencement ceremony on June 7, a range of emotions ran throughout all the speakers’ remarks: awe, at all this year’s graduates have had to overcome; relief, at the feeling of the global pandemic beginning to ease as the graduates’ time at LeBow wrapped up; and optimism, at the prospect of better days ahead for these students and their ability to make a positive difference in the world.
In a livestreamed ceremony held on Drexel’s University City campus, Drexel President John Fry joined LeBow leaders and students in congratulating all of this year’s graduates, acknowledging the challenges they have faced, particularly over the past 15 months, and expressing hope for their bright futures.
Fry, LeBow Dean and R. John Chapel, Jr. Dean’s Chair Vibhas Madan, PhD, and other speakers hailed the LeBow Class of 2021 as future leaders of business and industry and urged all graduates to dream big, seek to serve others and make an impact on the world.
Madan credited this year’s graduates with incredible resilience and dedication in adjusting to difficult circumstances and in joining with the rest of the College community in tackling major societal problems: from changing how and where we live, learn and work due to the pandemic to confronting issues of racial injustice.
“Now as alumni and as professionals, we ask that you join our efforts to make not only Drexel LeBow, but also the entire world, an equitable place for all,” he said.
In his keynote address, Vice Chair of Drexel Board of Trustees Stan Silverman ’69, MBA ’74 looked ahead to a brighter, post-pandemic future as well.
“Out of disruption comes opportunity. We are not bouncing back, but springing forward with new and improved ways of doing things.”
Silverman also encouraged the graduates to set lofty goals for themselves and not to be afraid to fly too high.
“Get out of your comfort zone and fly high, and if you crash, you will demonstrate resilience and pick yourself up and fly again,” he said.
Representing their class, student speakers Hiral Patel, Moh’d-Ghayeb and Gianna Briglia each took stock of all the events that shaped them along the way to reaching this goal: everything from orientation events and challenging group assignments to late-night study sessions and phone calls home.
Patel likened the students’ experiences to a different kind of challenge: assembling a jigsaw puzzle. The act of graduating, she said, adds the final piece to the picture of this stage of their lives.
“We have completed a masterpiece, thanks to the unconditional support of faculty and professors, family, friends and each other… Remember, each one of us fulfills a piece of a larger puzzle. Stay ambitious, and become the leaders LeBow has meticulously nurtured us to be.”
To continue the celebrations during Commencement week, LeBow Class of 2020 and 2021 graduates were invited to take part in Drexel’s Commencement ceremony at Citizens Bank Park, the first time many in the Drexel community had come together in over a year. Graduates also had the opportunity to walk through Gerri C. LeBow Hall one more time at a Graduation Final Walk.