Year-end celebrations: Recognizing student accomplishments

April and May are usually packed full with year-end celebrations, banquets, and award events for students. Although we were unable to come together in person, the division of student life found creative ways to acknowledge and celebrate student contributions this spring. 

Drew Davis of Student Activities, in a suit and tie, presenting in front of a screenDrew Davis, assistant director of student activities and the Cliff 
Alexander office of fraternity and sorority life, as host of the
SEAL awards

SEAL Awards for Student Orgs and Leaders

Student activities and the Cliff Alexander office of fraternity and sorority life held the annual student engagement and leadership (SEAL) awards celebration virtually on May 6, 2020 via Webex. Ten student presenters announced awards via the "virtual stage." A full list of the nearly 30 awards can be found on the student activities' SEAL awards page; a recording of the ceremony is also available on YouTube at SEAL awards 2020.

Lavender Graduation

On Saturday, May 9th, 2020, approximately 90 people including graduating students, friends, family, alumni, faculty, and staff came together virtually to celebrate and honor the graduating LGBTQ+ students during Miami’s 19th annual Lavender Graduation. The ceremony took place via Webex, which allowed people across the country to gather in solidarity and support of the LGBTQ+ graduating students and community at Miami. Hosted by the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion, the event included videos from the President, administration, alumni, and individual videos for each graduate, which was an opportunity for friends, family, and faculty and staff mentors to share about the exceptional class of 2020. In addition, nine scholarships were presented to current students continuing the LGBTQ+ legacy of alumni. The 1809 LGBTQ+ alumni board members were present to welcome the students into the alumni family.

Vicka Bell-Robinson, director of residence life, smiling on cameraVicka Bell-Robinson, director of residence life, on camera for the
resident assistant award ceremony

Residence Life gRAmmys for Resident Assistants

The office of residence life posted their annual recognition ceremony on YouTube at 2020 gRAmmys - ORL year end celebration. The video was emailed to all resident assistants and residential staff. Throughout the ceremony, nine resident assistants received awards. Staff also acknowledged the contributions of more than 65 students in the department who were graduating. The list of award nominees and recipients is available on the residence life awards page.

Horizon Graduation

Horizon graduation became a weeklong virtual celebration recognizing diverse students graduates on Instagram. The virtual event included messages from Miami alumni, speeches from student leaders, a recognition video, and social hour. The story is available as a highlight on the Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion's Instagram. Fifty-eight students registered for the event. Each student will receive a gift package with a cultural stole, an alumni pin, a letter from vice president for student life Jayne Brownell, and a booklet of graduate accomplishments.

President's Distinguished Service Awards

The President's Distinguished Service Award (PDSA) is presented to 15-20 graduating seniors whose service to Miami and/or the community is exceptional. Coordinated by the Office of Parent and Family Programs, the PDSA is typically celebrated with an April ceremony in Kumler Chapel. Students were recognized this year with individual tweets throughout April, a phone call from President and Renate Crawford, a video message and certificate, and a news article announcing the recipients

Graduating Student Leaders

The division of student life also posted an Instagram story during the week of graduation highlighting 61 graduating seniors, with messages of thanks and congratulations. The story received 25,669 impressions on Instagram. 

The story is available as a highlight on Student Life's Instagram. Sample slides are below.

Service and Leadership Coordinators - Students in 4 quadrants - Madeline Marshall, Cassidy Hemm, Natalie Knoepfle, and Jordan Gilligan. Text reads Thank You from Wilks Institute for Leadership & Service
Seal ambassadors. Group photo with of 11 students at the 2019 SEAL awards ceremony. 3 students are called out specifically with their names - Adrianne Miller, Alyssa Francis, and Hannah Farahay. Text reads Thank you from Student Activities and the Cliff Alexander Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life
Text reads Center for Student Diversity & Inclusion. Thank you Interns! Three students at Mega Fair - Dion Mensah, Viengsamai Fetters, and Tobias Paul
Grid of six student faces, names labeled Andrey Golubev, Shelby Frye, Annie Mallamaci, Viengsamai Fetters, Madeline Nowak, and Khalia Fogel. Text reads Congratulations, SOULs!