The University of Connecticut and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences celebrated the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020 with in-person commencement ceremonies on May 8-12.
The ceremonies were held at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field over a five-day period and were live-streamed for friends and family across the globe.
View the Live Streams
Class of 2021
Class of 2020
Meet the Class of 2021
"The Class of 2021 arrived at UConn in 2017 with a wealth of promise: they boasted a record number of valedictorians and salutatorians; they were the first students to set foot on the brand-new UConn Hartford campus; and they were the first to take up residential living at UConn Stamford.
"What no one could have imagined on those hot August days four years ago is that they would fulfill that promise amidst a set of challenges and world-changing events that ranged from the largest protest movement in American history to a global pandemic that altered every facet of life on the planet.
"For the Class of 2021, though, 'challenge' is just another word for 'opportunity,' and as they prepare to take their place with Husky graduates going back to 1883, they're showing the world what it means to rise to the occasion."
Why did you choose your major?
Chloe Murphy ’21 (CLAS)
Major: Africana Studies
Minor: Sustainable Community Food Systems
Hometown: New London, Connecticut
"Africana Studies has certainly given me a strong foundation in the field of history. In elementary school I would go to the library and read historical fiction about different periods. But my history lessons in school did not tell a story. Rather, they were a conglomerate of sterile facts which seemed disconnected from each other. In assistant professor in residence Alhaji Conteh’s Black Experience in the Americas class, a story was told. A story with a beginning, a middle, but not an end. That’s the best part about history — the stories never end. They are handed down to the next generation."
Victoria Sun ’21 (CLAS)
Hometown: Flushing, Queens, New York and Norwich, Connecticut
"I love reading and discussing literature, so it made sense to pick a major that fit in with my interests. UConn has allowed me to make connections with people from different backgrounds and skillsets. I like to write about human experiences. It’s one of the defining factors that make a character relatable. Thanks to the variety of courses I’ve taken at UConn, I can incorporate all kinds of philosophies and perspectives that I never would have thought of before."
What has inspired you most at UConn?
Mukund Desibhatla ’21 (CLAS)
Major: Physiology and neurobiology and Spanish
Minor: European studies
Hometown: Newton, Massachusetts
"My research mentor, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Psychological Sciences John Salamone, was integral in shaping my college experience. He not only pushed me to become a better student and scientist, but taught me to always consider the greater implications of research and who it will benefit."
William Aleman ’21 (CLAS)
Minor: Data analytics
Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut
"Being a first-generation student, it was tough at times and there were definitely a lot of stressful nights. But I knew I had to graduate because I wanted to make my family proud. I owe them that. My parents are my role models and they are my biggest inspiration, as well as my support system. I am hoping to set the path for my little brother so he can be just as, if not more, successful than I am."
What is the biggest thing you’ve learned from COVID-19?
Zhian Xie ’21 (CLAS)
Major: Applied Mathematics
Hometown: Nanchang, Jiangxi, China
"I really appreciated all my friends that helped me to get me through that period. Personally speaking, I sometimes would feel extremely exhausted whenever I needed to meet someone online, no matter if it was before the meeting, or after the meeting. The lack of face-to-face interaction has really caused a huge impact on my life. So I am really grateful for all the online mental sessions that are addressing similar problems."
Yasaman Homayouni ’21 Ph.D.
Hometown: Tehran, Iran
"All of us have dealt with relentless circumstances in the past year. Being on the job market during the pandemic came with many anxieties, and transitioning to remote working was very difficult for me initially. I have come to realize the importance of mental health and pacing myself while working. I now have a better handle on when I need to take a mental health break and simply enjoy a cup of tea."