Educating a diverse population in the liberal arts

For personal, professional and global responsibility

In the tradition of the Sisters of Notre Dame

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Notre Dame College celebrated its 96th commencement in an unfortunate but unforgettable way by commemorating the Class of 2020 with a creative yet unconventional observance.

The College conferred degrees to more than 180 graduates, including the first to receive the Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies, on May 9 via a videotaped ceremony in Christ the King Chapel. The rite included an academic procession of fewer than 10 administrators to comply with social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Sadly, we’re not able to celebrate our 96th commencement of Notre Dame College in the way we had planned. We do look forward to celebrating your graduation in person at a later date,” said Ann Hawkins, chair of the College’s Board of Trustees. “On behalf of the entire Notre Dame College community, I want to offer a hearty congratulations to all our graduates and their families and a thank you for joining us in this videotaped ceremony of this important occasion of the conferral of degrees that you have earned.”

The virtual celebration also featured an address from new Notre Dame President J. Michael Pressimone, Ed.D., and a video of greetings from nearly 100 faculty and staff. All three videos are available on the Notre Dame website graduation page.

In addition, social media highlighted individual student and family activities and presented salutes to senior student-athletes from Notre Dame coaches and teammates.

Virtual Commencement

Along with Hawkins, administrators present for the campus ceremony were: John Galovic, Ed.D., liaison to the College president; Sandra Grossman, M.B.A., interim dean of academic affairs and associate professor of information systems; David Orosz, Ph.D., interim dean of faculty and professor of biochemistry; and Florentine Hoelker, Ph.D., dean of online and graduate programs at Notre Dame’s Finn Center. Ted Steiner, director of campus ministry, served as marshal and gave the invocation and benediction. They remained six feet apart throughout the event.

Galovic, who served as interim president at the College during the past year prior to the pandemic, recognized the unusual circumstances and the resilience of the graduates in his commencement address.

“Your class has endured more than most, especially this last semester, but you have triumphed,” Galovic said. “Your brave and unstoppable commitment to your personal finish line despite the upheaval that began around you in March is beyond extraordinary.”

The Notre Dame diploma, commemorative programs and a special keepsake will be delivered to each member of the Class of 2020 this summer.

Values-based Degrees

Graduates were recognized for earning the Associate of Arts in Liberal Studies; Bachelor of Arts in majors across the humanities, business, and education; Bachelor of Science in biology, chemistry and environmental science; the Bachelor of Science in Nursing; Master of Education; and Master of Arts in national security and intelligence studies.

Galovic acknowledged the graduates’ have gained a values-based education as well as completed career-focused studies. He empowered them now to apply their degrees and live their faith to improve the world for all humankind.

“You now have the responsibility to teach and inspire others. … The challenge for you, the Class of 2020, remains constant, to make the future better than the past, to live, to grow, to have a family, to seek new paths and to help the less fortunate, to do something however small, to make others happier and their lives better,” he said.

“It has been a daunting time for sure, and the path ahead looks much steeper than you anticipated, but you are Notre Dame graduates,” Galovic continued. “You have all the spiritual and intellectual tools you need to find your way to a meaningful and fruitful life.”

May 2020

About Notre Dame College

For almost a century, Notre Dame College has educated a diverse population in the liberal arts for personal, professional and global responsibility. Founded by the Sisters of Notre Dame in 1922, the College has grown strategically to keep pace with the rapidly changing needs of students and the dramatic changes in higher education. But it has never lost sight of its emphasis on teaching students not only how to make a good living but also how to live a good life.

Today, the College offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 disciplines plus a variety of master’s degrees, certification programs and continuing and professional development programs for adult learners on campus and online. Notre Dame College offers NCAA Division II intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women and is located in a picturesque residential neighborhood just 25 minutes from the heart of Cleveland. Hallmarks of the Notre Dame experience include stimulating academics, personalized attention of dedicated faculty and staff, and small class sizes.

Notre Dame College is located at 4545 College Road in South Euclid. For further information contact Brian Johnston, chief communications officer, at 216.373.5252 or