Joe Jonas, Trace McSorley, Lara Spencer, & More Shout Out Class Of 2020

Penn Staters from around the world tuned into the university’s virtual commencement ceremony Saturday afternoon to congratulate the Class of 2020 and give them some advice as they enter the real world.

Introduced by President Eric Barron, Good Morning America host and 1991 Penn State graduate Lara Spencer kicked things off by offering words of encouragement to seniors live from her basement recording studio.

“I know this is not how you envisioned it to be, this is not what you wanted for your senior year. I just want you to remember a couple things,” Spencer said. “We are strong. We are resilient. We Are!”

Spencer infamously served as College Gameday’s guest picker back in October, much to some fans’ dismay. She was an All-American diver at Penn State and has spent the last 20 years with the iconic ABC morning show.

Next, former P&G chief marketing officer and 1983 Penn State graduate Jim Stengel joined the ceremony. He advised graduates to take a moment to hug their loved ones and share this special day with them in these “crazy times.”

“You are the most remarkable class in our 165-year history,” Stengel said proudly. “Go out into the world, be happy, find your love, find your passion. For the glory…We Are!”

NASA astronaut Zena Cardman followed suit and continued touting the graduating class’s talents.

“As you’ve found role models and mentors in your lives, don’t be afraid to be a role model or mentor for someone else,” Cardman said. “Go out into the world, best of luck, and congratulations.”

Cardman received her bachelor’s degree at North Carolina but spent time in Happy Valley as a graduate student before being selected as an astronaut candidate in 2017.

Next, actor, singer, songwriter, and “overall Penn State fan” Joe Jonas joined the program to hype up the Class of 2020. Jonas, who’s previously performed in Happy Valley a number of times on his own and alongside his brothers, could hardly contain his excitement.

“Just want to say congratulation on graduating. This is a huge milestone, You’re going to change the world,” Jonas said.

Two-time Olympic diver Mary Ellen Clark later joined the program. Clark earned her bachelor’s degree from Penn State and later went on to earn a master’s at Ohio State. Go figure.

“Congratulations for being the unique Penn State Class of 2020,” Clark said. “The class of vision and the class of hope. You are poised and ready to use what you learned at Penn State through your education and life experiences, showcasing your true perseverance, your grit, and your ability to adapt.”

Next up, former Penn State football quarterback Trace McSorley spoke to seniors and gave a special shoutout to his sister, Micaela, who’s graduating herself.

“Can’t wait to see what you guys are going to be able to do going forward, moving on to bigger and better things, enjoying the best alumni base in the entire world,” McSorley said.

Last but not least, former Baltimore Ravens offensive lineman and renowned mathematician John Urschel added his remarks and gave some advice to graduating seniors.

“As a two-time graduate from Penn State, one piece of advice I would give you is to take some time today and in the coming weeks to really say thank you to all the people who were a part of your education,” Urschel said. “You don’t get a degree in a vacuum. You don’t learn just by yourself.”

Congratulations, graduates! You can catch the full segment featuring these notable Penn State alumni below.

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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