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Alabama A&M University’s dean of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Physical Sciences, Zhengtao Deng (seated left in the front row of the group photo taken at the 2020 BEYA STEM Conference) was dressed for the celebratory video released this weekend by Alabama A&M.  After saying how sorry he was that he couldn’t meet with students in person, he gave a high five to the Class of 2020.

“Accept my high five,” Dr. Deng said. “We’re so proud of your achievements, especially during this challenging time. You have shown courage and determination. I wish you all the best.”

Alabama A&M University President Andrew Hugine said that graduation plans had been subject to change because of extraordinary circumstances, but the Class of 2020 was special.

“Not only because you are the first class of this decade, but because you represent the largest class of degree recipients from this university in the last 10 years,” he said.

Alabama A&M recognized more than 630 recipients. Of that number 194 are graduate degree recipients and 445 are undergraduate degree recipients. Based on college data, 34 percent of that number have secured employment, 35 percent will continue in their education, and 1 percent plan to enter the U.S. military. At least 37  recipients reported salary offers of more than $70,000, with the highest offer being $115,000. More than 260 recipients will graduate with honors.

“Kudos to Jeremy D. Lipscomb, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and a perfect 4.0 GPA,” President Hugine said. “For each of you, we wish for you hope, as you navigate the unchartered waters of life ahead.”

The keyword was Hope. H for holding on, O for optimism, P for pressing forward with dreams and goals, and E for expectations because as  “a man thinketh, so a man is,” Hugine said.

The 13-minute video made for the College of Engineering, Technology, and Physical Sciences was one of several designed for Commencement Day. They all opened with scenes form happy times in the college calendar.

The video also featured messages from household names. They included Terry McMillan, author of works like The Interruption of Everything Getting to Happy, rapper Dequantes Devontay Lamar better known as Rich Homie Quan, Susan L. Taylor, veteran editor-in-chief of Essence magazine, and David Banner, record producer and philanthropist.

“You’re going to make it,” affirmed Tyler Chronicles in his shout out to the new graduates. Ruben Studdard, actor and gospel singer, echoed the good wishes with his prediction that graduates were “going to shoot for the stars.”

“It’s a great season to celebrate,” said Marvin Sapp, founder, and senior pastor of the Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Michigan. “Do the best that you can for yourselves, your family, and your community” encouraged Taylor. “Go on and change the world,” said McMillan.

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