More than 500 graduates from the College of Charleston’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences and School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs gathered under the stately oaks of the Cistern Yard on Friday, May 6, 2022, to celebrate the conclusion of their academic journeys at CofC and the start to a future that is theirs for the making.

Susan Farrell

English Professor Susan Farrell

It’s an accomplishment that was hard fought, with more than half of their college careers impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Navigating all of the challenges and changes the stress and uncertainty – that the pandemic brought, to achieve their goals is something to be proud of, College of Charleston English professor and commencement speaker Susan Farrell told the graduates.

RELATED: View the spring commencement program with the names of all graduates.

“The COVID-19 pandemic, arriving so suddenly in March of 2020, changed your college experience in a myriad of ways,” said Farrell, noting that students and faculty alike had to navigate a shift to online and hybrid classes, face masks and social distancing. “Now, at graduation, you can congratulate yourselves not only for making it through, but for succeeding.”

Amid a warm breeze rattling the trees and offering a bit of relief from the May heat, Farrell urged the members of the Class of 2022 not to let the hardships of the last few years shade what comes next, but to embrace the resilience that has driven them forward.

“Resiliency, though, doesn’t mean simply snapping back into place, like a rubber band, exactly where you were before – now is a time to imagine the world that you’d like to live in,” she said, continuing: “The future isn’t something that just happens to you. It’s something you dream up and then work to make real.”

graduates at cofc commencement

College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu agreed.

“Your resilience sets you apart from other generations of students,” Hsu told the graduates. “I encourage you to draw on this experience for the rest of your life to remind yourself that you can push through anything.

cofc 2022 commencement

Honorary degree recipient John Winthrop with President Hsu and members of the Board of Trustees (Photos by Mike Ledford and Heather Moran)

“As I look at this extraordinary class of College of Charleston graduates, I am excited for you and for your futures,” Hsu continued. “You have a long and open road in front of you to make your life what you want it to be.”

During the ceremony, the College also granted an honorary degree to Charleston businessman and philanthropist John Winthrop, who founded the Winthrop Round Table Dinner at the College, a speaker series that hosts national figures such as journalists, military leaders and Fortune 500 CEOs.

The College will hold two commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 7, 2022: one at 10 a.m. for the School of Business and the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance; and another at 4 p.m. for the School of the Arts; School of Sciences and Mathematics; and the Graduate School.