Jaqueline Gleason-Boure, a member of the University of Maine at Farmington Class of 2020, addresses classmates in an Instagram post.

University of Maine at Farmington President Edward Serna toasts members of the Class of 2020 during Saturday’s virtual recognition. Submitted photo

Pat O’Donnell, creative writing professor at the University of Maine at Farmington, throws confetti in the air while celebrating the Class of 2020 on Instagram.


FARMINGTON ⁠— In a normal year, 374 graduates of the University of Maine at Farmington would have braved the wintry weather Saturday and followed bagpipes down High Street. Due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, the grads settled for the next best thing: Facebook and Instagram.

At 10:45 a.m. Saturday, UMF president Edward Serna addressed graduates on the university’s Facebook Page.

“Despite the incredible challenges you’ve faced over the past two months, and because of your unwavering resolve we’re gathered, however remotely, to celebrate you. There will be no long speeches, or walking across the stage today, but there is no shortage of praise or celebration for this class,” said Serna.

Following his online speech, faculty and students took to the UMF Instagram page to share 15-second speeches.

“Congratulations. I hope that you feel proud of all that you have accomplished during college, and that you wear a wide smile looking ahead at all the possibilities,” Dr. Mariella Passarelli, chemistry professor said during her clip.


“Class of 2020. You did it. We’re so proud of you. Whatever happens next, we’re still here for you. We’ll miss you, we won’t forget you,” English Professor Kristen Case said.

“I just want to say ‘congratulations’ to all of us who are graduating today from a distance. We worked really hard to get to this point and even though we’re not all together today, we earned this day of celebration, so do something really nice for yourself,” said Class of 2020 graduate Jacqueline Gleason-Boure of Fort Fairfield, graduating with a bachelor of science in world languages.

At 12:30 p.m., graduates joined a Zoom meeting and toasted with champagne. Then, the class — which included students from Maine, 11 states and the country of Albania — enjoyed a performance by GoldenOak, a Portland-based folk band, headlined by sibling duo Zak and Lena Kendall.

The Instagram speeches were heartfelt, and the sentiments expressed were both warm and simple.

And, clever.

Pat O’Donnell, professor of creative writing, simply threw confetti in the air and danced to the tune of  “Celebrate.”


A traditional commencement ceremony will be held on the Farmington campus on Aug. 22.




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