Celebrating Virtually

October 22, 2020
The headline “Celebrating Virtually” and red and blue pennants appear above screenshots of two event videos. The screenshot on the left says. “Join us for a virtual Alumni Weekend Saturday May 16. 2020.” The screenshot on the right shows Dean Grossman smiling above the words “Dean Pam Grossman of the Graduate School of Education.”

With the spring semester concluding virtually and the COVID-19 pandemic underway, Penn Alumni Weekend and Penn GSE Commencement went virtual for 2020, keeping the University and School communities connected from afar.

Virtual Penn Alumni Weekend

The University-wide programming for Virtual Alumni Weekend on Saturday, May 16, featured two members of the Penn GSE community. Dr. Angela Duckworth, the Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor at Penn and a secondary faculty member at Penn GSE, spoke on “Grit and the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Duckworth is author of New York Times bestseller Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and founder and CEO of the nonprofit Character Lab.

Penn GSE alumna Rita Axelroth Hodges, C’05, GED’15, discussed “The Netter Center, Civic Engagement, and Higher Education’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond” with Dr. Ira Harkavy, C’70, GR’79, associate vice president and founding director of the Netter Center for Community Partnerships at Penn. Hodges is associate director of the Netter Center. 

Virtual Penn GSE Commencement

In lieu of its 106th in-person Commencement ceremony, Penn GSE shared a video on Monday, May 18, at 9:00 a.m. EDT to celebrate the School’s 2020 graduates with heartfelt messages from faculty and staff. The video drew 1,900 views on Facebook, 1,266 on Instagram TV, 1,155 on YouTube, and 1,247 on LinkedIn. New graduates tagged their at-home celebrations and shared their memories using the hashtags #PennGSEGrad and #PennGrad, and alumni, faculty, and staff shared “Congrats, Grad” stories on Instagram. Penn GSE conferred 678 degrees during 2019-2020.

Save the Date for Alumni Weekend, May 14-16, 2021, and visit www.gse.upenn.edu/alumni/events to find upcoming alumni programming.

This article appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of The Penn GSE Magazine.