2,711 graduates gathered from inside their homes to watch the Spring 2021 virtual commencement ceremony.
A prerecorded service was released at 6 p.m. to celebrate those who earned degrees from BYU-Idaho.
President Henry J. Eyring addressed the graduates. He shared that 2,100 of the degrees earned this semester were bachelor degrees and 611 were associate degrees. Among the graduates, 900 were online students.
He also previewed future semesters, giving hope to students who wish to go back to in-person classes at full capacity. The Fall Semester 2021 will begin with a two week period of mandated masks.
Steven J. Lund, the Young Men General President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was the commencement speaker.
During his address he talked about the unknown future many of the graduates will face and how they can face the journey to their “happily ever after” with faith.
Lund shared how following Jesus Christ can be the way to receive comfort in the uncertain times ahead. Lund compared beginning life after college to beginning life coming from the pre-mortal life.
“All we had to do was trust him and then not give up,” Lund said.
Olivia Giles, an elementary education graduate, loved how much the gospel of Jesus Christ was intertwined in her classes and life around campus and Rexburg.
“I loved getting to pray at the beginning of a class and having professors connect secular material to gospel principles,” Giles said. “I have grown significantly closer to my Savior during my time here at school.
Daniel Lozano, a graduate in sociology, enjoyed his time at BYU-Idaho. He is the first person in his family to graduate college, so this day is especially special for him.
“In my opinion, one of the most wasteful things you can do in this nation and to God is not take advantage of the opportunity to prosper,” Lozano said.
This is the fifth semester COVID-19 has impacted BYU-I and has prevented an in person graduation ceremony.
Nathan Smith, a graduate in psychology, was disappointed he wasn’t able to attend in person.
“I’m upset that after all the effort and time I put into my degree, the university decided not to do an in-person ceremony, even though the regulations around meetings doesn’t restrict the gatherings at all,” Smith said. “While I’m happy to be done, I just feel let down.”
Despite the circumstances brought on by the pandemic, Smith is grateful for his time spent at BYU-I.
“Apart from the ceremony, I have loved my time here,” Smith said. “I have learned so much, grown, found my wife, gained so many amazing memories and felt so blessed to be a student. The psychology department is great, and I have enjoyed all of my classes. I’m grateful for the school environment and excited for my future with my new bachelor’s degree.”
Giles said that her experience at BYU-I is a result of three main things: friends, professors and the gospel. Her relationships have helped her to build confidence.
“All in all, I am proud to officially be a college graduate and thrilled for the next phase of my life,” Giles said.
Anyone who missed the ceremony can watch it on BYU-I’s live stream link.