Hundreds gathered in person and virtually on May 8 to celebrate the many accomplishments of Chaminade’s Spring 2021 graduates with Commencement ceremonies on campus, closing out an academic year that brought no shortage of challenges with plenty of smiles, laughter, cheering and tears of joy.
“It was such an honor to celebrate Commencement with our 2021 graduates,” said Chaminade President Lynn Babington. “Graduation is always a momentous milestone—an opportunity to mark achievements attained and look forward to new adventures ahead. But this year’s graduates can be doubly proud for the incredible resilience and determination they showed during the pandemic.”
She added, “Look at all they have overcome—just imagine what they have yet to achieve!”
Two separate Commencement exercises were held outdoors to ensure attendees could socially distance. Not lost on anyone in attendance was the importance of the gatherings themselves: these were the first in-person graduation ceremonies held at Chaminade in more than a year.
In the morning, Commencement for graduates from the schools of Business and Communication; Humanities, Arts and Design; Natural Sciences and Mathematics; and Nursing and Health Professions was held. An afternoon Commencement was held for the School of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
Approximately 200 graduates attended each ceremony and there was a limit of two guests per graduate. To ensure everyone’s wellbeing, all attendees at the ceremonies wore face coverings and followed COVID safety protocols. Hundreds more family, friends and loved ones from around Hawaii, the nation and the globe were able to watch the events—and cheer on their grad—remotely via livestreams.
Elijah Abramo was among those who walked across the stage in the morning ceremony.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and said the culmination of his academic journey was both joyous and just a bit bittersweet. “It was four years of fun, friendship, faith and formation,” he said, “wrapped up in the neat package that is my degree.”
Taylor Lui-Kwan was also at the ceremony to celebrate the completion of his MBA.
She said graduation is an ending—but also a beginning.
“It’s the end for my MBA journey but a new start on my next chapter,” Lui-Kwan said, adding that she’s going to miss her peers and professors, the Chaminade campus and engaging class discussions. “I’m excited to see where my classmates and I end up in the business world five years from now.”
Dalton Alatan graduated in the afternoon ceremony with a Master’s in Education.
The full-time teacher said juggling his obligations at school with those at work and those at home—during a pandemic no less—hasn’t been easy. “But I am super grateful to be where I am today,” he said. “Graduating feels like a surreal moment in time. I am excited to continue my career as an elementary education teacher” as he looks ahead to securing an administrative role in Hawaii’s school system.
Alatan added that he’s going to miss his “amazing” professors at Chaminade the most. “They have guided and mentored me through my undergraduate and graduate studies … teaching me new skills that I can apply when I become a leader in the educational system,” he said.
As is tradition at Chaminade, the Commencement ceremonies were preceded by the Baccalaureate Mass on May 7. About 130 graduates, family members, faculty and staff attended the Mass, gathering in the Mystical Rose Oratory and an overflow area in the Clarence T.C. Ching Conference Center.
Wearing masks and socially distancing, attendees at the Mass came together in a strong spirit of thanksgiving, expressing gratitude for all that they have and seeking spiritual guidance for the future.
Master of Pastoral Theology graduate Drexel Gregory said he sees Commencement as not only the beginning of a new chapter but as an opportunity to turn what he has learned into positive action. “All my education did was give me the knowledge and analytical skills that would help me do more,” he said.
Now, he said, “I need to put it into use.”
Marlowe Sabater, who also graduated with a Pastoral Theology master’s degree, agreed.
He dedicated his Commencement experience to the fellow members of his cohort in the Diaconate Formation Program at the Diocese of Honolulu. “Graduation is an affirmation of the loving support from my wife and kids, who through thick and thin never wavered from encouraging me to keep going,” he said, adding that the Marianist educational tradition at Chaminade also equipped him with a strong service-oriented mission “to carry out the things I’ve learned in the secular world.”
With his new degree in hand, Sabatar said, the hard work doesn’t end. “It’s just beginning.”
Spring Commencement 2021
9:30 AM Commencement
School of Business and Communication
School of Humanities, Arts and Design
School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics
School of Nursing and Health Professions
2:30 PM Commencement
School of Education and Behavioral Sciences