EASTON, Mass. — Members of the class of 2020 joined together for a virtual commencement ceremony in August, including Sydney Cheever of Augusta, James Varney of Smithfield and Paige Frawley of Winthrop.

Initially scheduled for May 17 with a traditional in-person format but knocked off course by the COVID-19 pandemic, Stonehill’s 69th commencement finally took place on Aug. 8 making history as the college’s first virtual commencement and the first ever held in August. Another big change this year was the presentation of candidates for master’s degrees.

Live-streamed from Stonehill’s McCarthy Auditorium in the Thomas and Donna May School of Arts & Sciences building the ceremony addressed 630 undergraduates, 13 graduates, their families, and a wider audience of Stonehill faculty, staff, alumni, and friends.

In prerecorded remarks, commencement speaker New England Patriots star Matthew Slater drew on his career as a three-time Super Bowl Champion to hail the class of 2020 for their ability to endure, persevere and thrive in the face of adversity.