Caldwell, N.J., – Sept. 24, 2020 – Commencement is typically a time when graduates’ families travel from around the country and the world to Caldwell University to share in their loved ones’ memorable moments. Although this year’s pandemic curtailed much of that, family members of Class of 2020 graduates or graduates themselves who could not travel to New Jersey, were thrilled to be able to view the ceremony via live streaming.
722 unique viewers tuned in on Sunday, Sept. 20 from all over the United States and 22 other countries from as far away as Nigeria and Qatar. Most viewers from outside the U.S. were from Italy, Nepal, Jamaica, Ecuador, and Peru.
Anamika Sharma Paudel ’20 was grateful that her family in Nepal could hear her name announced and watch her walk across the stage to receive her degree from President Matthew Whelan. Paudel’s parents had planned to travel to New Jersey but due to COVID restrictions could not. The stream was the next best thing. “My whole family was up at night because of the time difference and [they] were extremely happy.”
Her father told her, “We remember sending our little daughter, Anamika, at Nepal’s airport with heavy hearts. Watching you on stage as a confident woman completing your education with the highest honors in such a wonderful institution was one of the most beautiful moments of our lives. We weren’t there with you in person, but one hundred percent in spirit.”
Paudel, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration, is currently on staff at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she is a care coordinator for patients with cancer and COVID-19. She said the ceremony, which had been delayed four months due to the pandemic, was “the most sought-after event for a long time!”
Huong Nguyen from Vietnam was on the phone with her mother and brother before and after the ceremony. They watched her walk via the live stream, recorded it on video, and shared it with friends and family. “My mom and my brother even went out for dinner and had some wine after the live stream to celebrate my graduation,” said Nguyen, who earned a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing and Communication and Media Studies. She currently works at Audigent in Manhattan. “It was sad that my family could not be there with me at this meaningful moment but I feel very grateful that the school made it possible for my family and many other international students’ families to watch the graduation virtually.”