Friends line up for photos after earning their degrees at Commencement 2021

St. Bonaventure University

Joe Zimmer with MaceActing St. Bonaventure President Dr. Joseph Zimmer holds the university mace at the start of a Commencement ceremony on Saturday. A poster to the left of the stage remembered Dr. Dennis R. DePerro, former university president who died March 1 of complications from COVID-19.

Commencement 2021

More than 600 students earned degrees and advanced certificates from St. Bonaventure during the university's 161st Commencement Exercises.

A student hugs a professor
A heartfelt hug says it all. Health science graduate Casey Decatur of Riverview, Florida, shows her appreciation for Dr. Claire Watson, founding director of public health in the School of Health Professions, at Saturday's Commencement ceremony. 

A graduate throws his arms up in the air before receiving his diplomaBecause of COVID-19 restrictions, the university conducted six ceremonies throughout the course of the day, beginning with graduate school students at 9:30 a.m. and concluding with the School of Health Professions at 3:45 p.m.

“I cannot express enough my gratitude to you and your families for all you have done through the pandemic to persevere and persist through the greatest challenge to the university in anyone’s memory,” Dr. Joseph Zimmer, provost and acting president, told the students.

Photo: Dajour Fisher of Newburgh, New York, raises his arms in triumph as he is handed the diploma for his bachelor's degree in business from Dr.  Zimmer.

For the name of all students awarded degrees Saturday, see our news release.

Download the Commencement Program.

Garlock and Sasankan named Ideal Bona Students

Ideals together with names

Alison Garlock of East Aurora, New York, and Puja Sasankan of Williamsville, New York, were named Ideal Bonaventure Students for the Class of 2021.

The Ideal Bonaventure Students exemplify the spirit of St. Bonaventure and the ideals of St. Francis through their demonstrated commitment to community service and academic excellence. This highest honor and treasured tradition celebrates the wonderful character of the St. Bonaventure graduate. They are selected by a committee that considers nominations from the campus community.

Receiving honorable mention for the award were Anna R. Hu, Latrobe, Pennsylvania and Victoria Viola Wangler of Honeoye Falls, New York.

  • Graduate Justin Cyran with his parentsJustin Cyran of New Fairfield, Connecticut, is accompanied by his parents as he enters Richter Center for the School of Education Commencement Ceremony.

    Graduates recognized for academic excellence

    Graduates from St. Bonaventure University's five academic schools were recognized for academic excellence during the 2020-2021 academic year.

    Read the news release

    Amanuel Wassie and wife Master of Science in cybersecurity graduate Amanuel Wassie of Alexandria, Virginia, lets his wife, Ferehiwot Teka, wear his cap as they pose for a photo at the university entrance. Both are immigrants from Ethiopia.

    Student speakers address the Class of 2021

    Adele Caputo and Emma KostenbaderSt. Bonaventure University seniors Adele Caputo and Emma Kostenbader, selected as student speakers for this year's Commemcement, addressed their classmates in an unconventional manner.

    A student speaker traditionally addresses classmates during one Commencement ceremony, but because Commencement was split into a number of individual events, this year two speakers were chosen to speak at events leading up to Commencement.

    Caputo, an educational studies and Spanish double major from Manlius, New York, delivered her message to the Class of 2021 at this year’s Candlelight Induction Ceremony on Thursday, May 13.

    Kostenbader, an accounting and criminology double major from Bayonne, New Jersey, shared her address with classmates at the senior banquet on Friday.

    Read the complete news release

    ROTC cadets commissioned as second lieutenants

    ROTC Cadet Quinn O'RourkeGraduating seniors who served as cadets in the U.S. Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) at St. Bonaventure University were commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army on Saturday.

    The commissioning ceremony,  held at the Allegany American Legion, was followed by the Silver Dollar Salute, a traditional event in which each newly commissioned officer hands a silver dollar to the first soldier who salutes him.

    Photo: ROTC cadet Quinn O'Rourke of Ellicottville, New York, and proud family members pose for a photo at Saturday's commissioning ceremony.

    Read the commissioning news release

    Hauser and Mazurek win faculty excellence awards

    Rene Hauser and Alexander MazurekTwo St. Bonaventure University faculty members were honored with awards of excellence for the 2020-21 academic year.

    Dr. René Hauser, associate professor in the School of Education and director of its master’s level inclusive special education program, received the Professional Excellence in University Service Award, while Dr. Alexander Mazurek, adjunct instructor of classics, received the Adjunct Faculty Professional Excellence in Teaching Award.

    Read the complete news release.


    Sen. Schumer salutes the Class of 2021

    U.S. Senator Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) remembers the late Dr. Dennis DePerro, University President, in his video message to graduates.


    Tell the world you're a proud 2021 Bona grad

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    Congratulations! You're among a special group. In the long, proud history of St. Bonaventure University there are few others who have had to face the fear and uncertainty, the restrictions, the frustrations, the isolation and social upheaval that you have endured as you pursued your studies during a global pandemic.

    But you did it, and we could not be prouder of you and your fellow graduates. We hope you are just as proud, and to help you show it we've created three designs that you may print for display.

    Click on one of the designs above to download a high-resolution PDF that you may print yourself, or send to a printer for creation of a yard sign or other display.