'Better late than never': SJSU celebrates Class of 2020, 2021 with in-person graduation ceremonies

These are the first in-person ceremonies on campus since the coronavirus pandemic began.
SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- San Jose State University is celebrating the most recent graduates for Fall commencement week starting Tuesday, but this year has a whole new meaning.

These are the first in-person ceremonies on campus since the pandemic began and the Classes of 2021 and 2020 were honored.

Success doesn't rush, the greatest reward is the journey.

And the journey it took these San Jose State University students to get to graduation day is unlike any before.

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"I can feel the buzz and excitement in the air," SJSU Provost Vincent Del Casino said. "All of us here at SJSU have been eagerly anticipating the return of the 2020 and spring 2021 graduates. We truly hope today will be worth the wait."

Back on campus and in person for the first time since COVID, graduation ceremonies held at the SJSU Event Center honored the pandemic class: the students of 2020 and 2021.

"This is meant to be," Class of 2020 Graduate Tan Tran said. "I know that we've all gone through so much the past two years, but this whole 2020 graduation itself is for us."

"This is fantastic, I couldn't hold my tears coming over here, this is real," Class of 2021 Graduate Surisa Abraham said. "As soon as I came onto campus, I couldn't believe it. This is a celebration and it's real."

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"Preparing for the worst, hoping for the best, We'll probably end up somewhere in between those two places." California State University's Chancellor Timothy White is planning to hold most fall classes online because of coronavirus.

The pandemic cut short their college experience.

When COVID sent students home, no one knew it would be their last day on campus.

Some of these students waited as long as 18 months for this moment to arrive.

"I wouldn't change a thing about this whole experience," Class of 2020 Graduate Kirk Espejo said. "It is a unique experience for all of us, especially the 2020 graduates. I'm happy to be here with my whole family."

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A moment all college students work towards: graduation day.

It's finally here for these special classes.

"We're definitely never going to be forgotten, we're known," Class of 2020 Graduate Brenda Gutierrez said. "It shaped us who we are, we're very resilient and be able to overcome lots of obstacles and I'm just excited, I'm happy and it's better late than never."

On behalf of all of us here at ABC7 News, congratulations to the class of 2020 and 2021!

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