OHIO celebrates historic Spring 2021 commencement at Peden Stadium

Published: May 3, 2021 Author: Story by Jalyn Bolyard, Photos by Ben Siegel, Rich-Joseph Facun, Laura Bilson and Eli Burris

Ohio University celebrated the Spring Class of 2021 this past weekend, April 30 – May 2. Graduates were welcomed to participate in person at Peden Stadium or virtually.

This weekend was extra special, as it marked the first time a commencement ceremony was ever held in Peden Stadium.

Our Graduate commencement ceremony was held on Friday at 9 a.m. to honor both master’s and doctoral degrees. The speaker for this ceremony was Dr. Susan Williams, a professor of anatomy in OHIO’s Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine who was named the 2020 Outstanding Graduate Faculty Award winner.

“The tools that you have go behind your domain expertise gained here. It is the ability to critically assess, compare, interpret, and synthesize information. It is the fact that you have learned how to think,” Williams said during her speech, which urged graduates use skepticism to see distortion in social media and also using calibration to remember to find common ground with those who may think differently.

During the ceremony, Dr. Srdjan Nesic, Russ Professor of Chemical Engineering in the Russ College of Engineering and Technology, was announced as OHIO’s 2021 Distinguished Professor.

Undergraduate ceremonies took place on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, the College of Business and Scripps College of Communication graduates were recognized at 9 a.m. with the College of Arts and Sciences, Gladys W. and David H. Patton College of Education, and Russ College of Engineering and Technology students recognized at 4 p.m. On Sunday, the College of Fine Arts, Honors Tutorial College, College of Health Sciences and Professions, Center for International Students and University College graduates were honored.

Leanne Ford, a 2003 OHIO graduate and co-host of Home Again with the Fords on HGTV, delivered the Undergraduate Spring Commencement address virtually.

“When you truly love what you do, your light will be contagious. When you truly love what you do, it’s easy to be good at it. It’s easy to get up and go to work. It’s easy to spend your time and energy on it – that’s why they call it a calling,” Ford said during her address. “You got your degree, check. You got your ideas, check. Now, find yourself a career that sets your heart on fire.”

Click on the photos below to view the captions.

Students walk in cap and gown to the commencement ceremony

Undergraduate students arrive at commencement at the Walter Fieldhouse.

Students seated in caps and gowns on a sparsely filled football field

Graduates were seated six feet apart on the football field at Peden Stadium.

Students share a congratulatory hug during graduation day

Angela Adams reunites with a friend and classmate that she has only seen online for the last semester at graduate commencement at Ohio University.

Graduating students enter the commencement ceremony with program booklets

KeShawn Mellon (center) and Makceila McColley (center right) participate in spring commencement at Ohio University.

A view of the graduating student crowd from behind

An undergraduate student listens as graduates are announced during Saturday's Undergraduate Commencement ceremony.

A student dressed in cap and gown for a seated graduation day portrait

KJ Russell waits for undergraduate commencement to begin.

Students await their turn to graduate during commencement

A student waves to supporters at undergraduate commencement at Peden Stadium.

A graduating student waves to the crowd

Claire Buckey waves to supporters at spring commencement.

Faculty and Ohio University leadership enter the commencement ceremony

The processional enters Peden Stadium for spring commencement.

The sign language interpreter standing all alone

Sign language interpreter Tina Jones interprets the national anthem the start of the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, April 30, 2021.

A graduating senior says the pledge of allegiance through a mask

An undergraduate student places her hand on her heart during the pledge of allegiance at spring commencement.

President Nellis delivering a commencement speech

Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis speaks at undergraduate commencement.

Congratulations are given by the 2021 Commencement Speaker

Ohio University Board of Trustees Chair Janelle Coleman gives graduates a round of applause at spring commencement.

The graduating students in the crowd listen to speeches

Abigail Rudd listens to the commencement address.

A recognized student receives an honoroary sash

Ali Aldhumani gets hooded at graduate commencement at Ohio University.

A student flips her graduation cap tassel

Claire Buckey moves her tassel from right to left during at spring commencement.

A student cheers during commencement 2021

Darfnell Gouin screams during the spring undergraduate commencement ceremony.

A female student waves to the graduation crowd

An undergraduate student waves to supporters when her name is called.

A graduating student smiles while getting a hug from her family

A new graduate hugs a supporter at spring commencement.

Families celebrate with their graduating students

Shaun Davis celebrates graduate commencement with family at Ohio University.

A graduating student holds up a small child

Catherine Russell holds Joey Russell as they celebrate after the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, April 30, 2021.

Graduating students hug their families

Peyton Cantrell hugs family following spring commencement at Ohio University on Sunday.

Graduating students hug their friends and family

Page Garan hugs family following spring commencement at Ohio University on Sunday.

Some graduating nursing students during commencement ceremonies

Nursing graduate Leslie Kaltenbach tears up after her dad Brian Kaltenbach congratulates her at the Ohio University Chillicothe Recognition Ceremony for Nursing Graduates.

A graduating student embraces her mother

Elizabeth Dombrowski (left) hugs a supporter at the Ohio University Chillicothe Recognition Ceremony for Nursing Graduates.

A family celebrates the graduation of nursing students

Bailey Barnes (left) gets a hug from her three year old, Emmaline, during Ohio University Chillicothe Recognition Ceremony for Nursing Graduates.

A graduate poses with his family for a photo outside of the commencement ceremony

A new graduate poses for a photo following spring commencement.

Two graduates in cap and gown posing for a photo

New graduates pose for a photo following spring commencement.

A recent graduate poses with his family in cap and gown

Zail Oddein and Muna Oddein pose for a photo after the Graduate Commencement Ceremony on Friday, April 30, 2021.

A group of graduates pose for a photo

Physical therapy graduate students pose for a photo together at graduate commencement.