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JMU holds 2021 winter commencement ceremony

Published: Dec. 18, 2021 at 7:22 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 19, 2021 at 12:39 AM EST
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - James Madison University held its 2021 winter commencement ceremony at the Atlantic Union Bank Center on Saturday.

University President Jonathan Alger was on hand to confer the degrees to hundreds of graduates from the school’s many programs.

The commencement marked a big day for a graduating class that had their education turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a struggle. I took a semester off when COVID hit in the fall. I just didn’t feel safe being on campus, but coming back I felt refreshed having been able to take a break and it feels like a real accomplishment doing so,” said Liz Todd, who graduated with a bachelor’s of science in chemistry.

“It was definitely hard being in nursing school with so much online. We kind of went back in forth from in person to online, but they were able to have a lot of in-person stuff for us which was nice,” said Sophie Garcia, a graduate of the nursing program.

The moment was bittersweet for some graduates.

“It’s very exciting. I’m glad to be graduating but I love JMU and I’m sad to leave. Go Dukes!” said Natalie Minter, a graduate of the nursing program.

Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson, JMU’s first Black graduate whom the campus building Darcus Johnson Hall is named for, delivered the commencement address.

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