Jess Russ

In arguably the most uncommon manner in university history, Concordia University Ann Arbor fulfilled its mission by ushering in the latest cohort of graduates who are poised to go out and impact the world.

Virtual Degree Conferral
They’re smiling under their masks-we promise! Left to right: President Ferry, Provost Bill Cario, Lisa Liljegren, Sean Young

On Sunday, May 17, CUAA wrapped up a week of virtual commemorations for its spring 2020 graduates with a live Virtual Degree Conferral ceremony featuring remarks from University President Rev. Patrick T. Ferry, Ph.D., Provost Dr. Bill Cario, Vice President Rev. Dr. Ryan Peterson, Campus Pastor Rev. Randy Duncan, and 2020 graduate Jessica Russ.

“Your Concordia experience has been one marked by top drawer academic experiences,” President Ferry shared in his address. “You’ve learned a lot from great faculty and you’ve been engaged by staff who care about you and challenge you, but more than anything else, your Concordia experience has been framed by the recognition that the Lord Jesus Christ is the savior of the world and loves you with an everlasting love.”

Virtual Degree ConferralVirtual Degree Conferral

The ceremony was broadcast via Zoom and live-streamed to the university’s Facebook page. Participants aired their well-wishes and thanks via Facebook and social media using #CUAAgrad20. Concordia plans to celebrate with spring 2o2o graduates in person in December.

Sunday afternoon’s virtual celebration came on the heels of a surprise for the spring 2020 graduates, released late Saturday evening. Over 80 faculty and staff members participated in a project to bring together a congratulatory video message for each and every one of CUAA’s 164 graduation candidates. The project, called Known By Name, picked up some local media attention from MLive’s The Ann Arbor News and WDIV Detroit’s All About Ann Arbor.


Graduate Tributes

Beginning on Sunday, May 10, Concordia began its roll-out of what has became an annual tradition—a daily feature of that year’s compelling graduate stories.

In case you missed them, the spring 2020 graduate tributes are below.

Tammy Delane

Tammy Delane (’20)

The uncommon nurse taking a circuitous route to reach her dreams



Liz Larsen

Liz Larsen (’20)

The uncommon social worker dedicating her career to bringing people together



Manny Dominguez

Manny Dominguez (’20)

The uncommon champion inspiring others along the way



Lexi Weber

Lexi Weber (’20)

The uncommon radiologic technologist who embraces CUAA’s tight-knit community




Prince Alex AyoOla (’20)

The uncommon go-getter embodying courage and determination



SchulzeEsther Schulze and Emmi (Schulze) Forbes (’20)

The uncommon sisters moving forward in faith


For futher details about the weekend, visit the graduation website or search #CUAAgrad20 on social media.

— Rachel Thoms served on Concordia University's Strategic Communications team from 2015-2022. Any inquiries about this story can be sent to

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