PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — What inspired members of the Brown University Class of 2020 to return to College Hill, put on a cap and gown, and march down College Hill to the First Baptist Church in America to celebrate with classmates — 802 days after COVID-19 forced an abrupt campus departure?
Maybe it was a chance for one last meal at the Ratty, or the Blueno-themed picnic. Perhaps it was to hear dancehall icon Shaggy perform a medley of hits in a historic church. Or to march — finally — in the Brown procession, out through the Van Wickle Gates, symbolically marking the end of their academic journey.
The reasons were probably as varied as the 1,337 members of the Class of 2020 who returned to campus from May 27 to 29 for their own dedicated ceremonies during Commencement and Reunion Weekend 2022, two years after receiving their degrees virtually when the pandemic prevented in-person gatherings.
For most, it was the chance to reunite in-person and close the book on a campus experience that ended too soon.
“When we left during the pandemic, it felt like an incomplete book,” said class member Priyal Gupta. “This feels like the last chapter has finally been written.”
Gupta, who earned a bachelor’s degree with concentrations in applied mathematics and economics, works as an analyst at a consulting firm near Boston, but her parents flew in from India for the chance to celebrate her graduation in person. They were just a few of the graduates, friends and family who came back to Providence.