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Commencement 2021


Hajim School faces at Commencement 2021. See captions below. (Photos by J. Adam Fenster/University of Rochester.

Congratulations to our 31 PhD students, 179 masters degree students and 349 seniors who received their diplomas during University of Rochester’s 2021 Commencement.

“You, the class of 2021, may be the most prepared class ever to go out into the world,” Hajim School Dean Wendi Heinzelman told graduating seniors at three diploma ceremonies held on the Eastman Quad. Doctoral and master’s degree ceremonies were held at Kodak Hall.

“You have not only worked incredibly hard to reach this point, but you have made it through a global pandemic and all that entailed, from remote classes to teams distributed across the world, to working across time zones.  Think about all you have accomplished to reach this milestone!”

Due to COVID-19 masking and social distancing requirements, the University’s in-person Commencement ceremonies were limited to students, but livestreamed for parents and guests.

Dean Heinzelman announced these faculty and staff awards:

John Lambropoulos

Mark Bocko

Lori Russell

The names of students receiving Hajim School and departmental awards can be found here.

“Now, more than ever, the world needs engineers, to solve the problems big and small that we face as a society.” Heinzelman told graduates.

“Yet, we also need people who care, care about the impact of our decisions on our environment, on our place as global citizens, and on our future.  In so many ways, you, the class of 2021 have shown exceptional care and compassion and determined how to use their skills to benefit humanity, and I have no doubt this caring spirit, this spirit of Meliora, will be evident in everything you do moving forward.”

Edmund Hajim ’58, a chemical engineering alumnus, lifetime University trustee, and chief benefactor of the Hajim School, delivered his traditional message to graduating seniors, this time not in person but with a recorded presentation displayed on a large screen.

“Do not let anyone tell you these are not golden times, in spite of COVID and number of other challenges which we can overcome," he said. "There is no limit to what can be done and you are the changemakers. You applied scientists are the ones who use science to make the world a better place, and we need you to do just that."

He recommended a framework he has developed to make life choices,consisting two distinct groups of words:

  • The buckets of life: self, family, work, and community.
  • Into which he pours the four P’s: finding your passions, principles, partners, and plans.

“That is your homework assignment for the next 40 to 50 years.”

Photo captions:

Top row: Alysso Ho ’21 of optics, the Senior Class Council president, addresses her classmates. Josh Cobb, adjunct faculty member in optics, stands proudly with his son Jonathan, who received his master’s degree —also in optics. Sereen Assi ’21 of biomedical engineering, gives Marc Haddad ’21 of mechanical engineering a helping hand.

Middle row: Faculty marshals Amy Lerner ( left), associate professor of biomedical engineering, and Jeffrey Allen Tucker, associate professor of English, carry the University Mace and Baton respectively. The Eastman Quad was the setting for AS&E and Hajim School diploma ceremonies. Payton Engelking ’21 of biomedical engineering BME gets an assist with his gown and regalia from Genevieve Putnam ’21 of biological sciences.

Lower row: At the master’s degree ceremony at Kodak Hall: Nick Vamivakas, dean of graduate education and postdoctoral affairs, and professor of quantum optics and quantum physics, poses with Emily Palacio of biomedical engineering. Michael Scott, department chair of computer science, addresses the graduates. Evan Keith Lo of electrical engineering waves as he crosses the stage.