Ringing In a New Tradition

On the crisp cool morning of May 7, this year’s spring graduates got the chance to celebrate the ending of a chapter with a new meaningful tradition. The 2021 seniors grabbed ahold of a purple cord and rang the university’s new 275-pound cast iron Commencement Bell – an honor only bestowed upon graduates – as a way to proclaim their achievement to the world. Read more about the Commencement Bell and its very first ring.

Name Reading Ceremonies

With COVID restrictions slowly rolling back throughout spring, WSU was thankful to offer students a small resemblance of the traditional commencement celebrations they had imagined before the pandemic. On May 7 more than 400 graduates, separated into colleges and into two ceremonies, waited patiently for a moment they had dedicated time, mental energy, and determination toward.

With enthusiasm gleaming through their eyes, they switched their tassels and stood up to applaud their great achievement. Then each student walked across the stage, with their diploma in hand, as their name was read out loud.

Virtual Commencement

Following the day’s events, WSU honored just under 1200 spring graduates during the evening’s Virtual Commencement Celebration. Congratulations Class of 2021! The celebration included speeches by President Scott Olson and Class of 2021 student speaker Michael Desch, along with music from the Winona State choir and band, as well as a commemorative video created for and by the Class of 2021 students. To check out some highlights beyond the virtual video, check out the yearbook of “senior pictures” and quotes, and a message board for family and friends.

Graduate Feature Stories

Pure academic talent, fierce determination, and a drive to make an impact, our Spring 2021 graduates are truly impressive. We’ve rounded up six stories of graduates with inspiring, hopeful, and empowering stories. We couldn’t be more excited to see what they accomplish next.

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Tesla Mitchell

Named after the 80's rock band, Tesla Mitchell has a decade of experience covering local news and features as a journalist in Winona. A Saint Mary's University alumna, Tesla graduated with a bachelor's degree in Journalism with an emphasis in political science and entrepreneurship. During her free time, Tesla enjoys organizing block parties, being a super mom and an avid heavy weightlifter.