BOSTON, May 1, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Bentley University celebrated commencement for the Class of 2021 at Boston’s Fenway Park on Saturday, the first ever college graduation held at the historic ballpark. A second ceremony to celebrate the Class of 2020, whose commencement was held virtually last year, was held later in the day.
Former Bentley President Gloria Cordes Larson delivered the commencement address, encouraging graduates to “make the world a better place,” praising the students for the resilience in enduring the worst pandemic in a century that had made them “stronger and more powerful than you will ever imagine.”
“This past year has forever changed our world,” Larson told the graduates. “We are lesser as a nation and lesser as a global community. We’ve experienced an untold loss of human life; felt economic and financial hardship; experienced social unrest and a needed reckoning around race and social justice; and saw a deepening political and social divide at home and abroad. But here today, in spite of or perhaps because of these challenges, we stand stronger. Class of 2021, you are stronger.”
It was a memorable day as Larson stood on the home team’s dugout to deliver her remarks to students and their families in the famous red Fenway Park seats, four years after she had first welcomed many of the same students to the Bentley campus – the final class she welcomed to the university before retiring in 2018. The stadium’s Jumbotron, which normally shows replays of home runs and strikeouts, instead played videos of professors congratulating the graduates. The famous scoreboard in left field had been changed by hand to read, “CONGRATS BENTLEY.”
As the coronavirus pandemic continues, Bentley arranged to hold the in-person ceremony at Fenway Park to celebrate the classes of 2020 and 2021 with their families in a safe setting that followed Massachusetts and City of Boston guidelines. Bentley was the first university to hold commencement at Fenway, followed by Northeastern, Suffolk, Emerson and dozens of high schools in the coming weeks.
Larson, a prominent business leader, public policy expert and lawyer, was a widely quoted champion for millennials and