ASU Polytechnic campus celebrates commencement

Down at Arizona State University’s Polytechnic campus on May 3, more than 30 grads from the College of Integrative Sciences and Arts attended an in-person get-together in the breezeway of Santa Catalina Hall, which was decked out with tables holding bouquets and cookies.

Robed grads wandered in and out, having their photos taken with Dean Duane Roen in his academic regalia.

The College of Integrative Sciences and Arts hosted several events for its graduates: in-person receptions, virtual events and Zoom receptions for online students.

“The virtual events are fun,” Roen said. “People get to chat with each other.”

Roen beckoned grads to pose with him. “Come on down,” he said.

Troy Anderson, the Polytechnic campus student body president, posed with Roen, capping off earning a BS in political science and a BA in philosophy. The low-key sendoff didn’t bother Anderson in the slightest.

“I think it’s fine,” he said. “I’m not a big graduation person anyway. I’ve finished my four years and I’m done.”

Anderson doesn’t plan to go far. He’s looking for a job at ASU.

Nathan Reed celebrated earning his BS in applied biological sciences, which he earned at age 18. He plans to go to medical school and become an osteopath.

“It’s a little bit different,” he said of the graduation get-together. “I enjoyed all the YouTubes, taking them at my own pace.”

Reed said he missed all the activity of a typical graduation, but as a medical school candidate he understood why things were the way they were.

The Gilbert native enjoyed spending time at the Polytechnic campus with different people from different backgrounds, having had a challenging time in high school at his age.

“Here it was acceptance and doing things differently, and that’s what made it interesting,” he said.

Faculty attended as well, seeing students off. Rafael Martinez just finished his first year teaching Southwestern history and English at ASU. He graduated from the University of New Mexico last year.

“I’m loving ASU,” he said. “I’m super excited that CISA is meeting students’ needs and celebrating their accomplishments. … I’m sure parents appreciate we’re keeping it safe.”

Vanessa Fonseca Chávez teaches Chicano and Indigenous literature and Southwest studies. She attended the in-person reception and a virtual event, and had more virtual events planned for the next day. Her office is in Santa Catalina Hall.

“The space is really great,” she said. “The breezeway is an underutilized space. I appreciate they were able to do this. Students really wanted to do something.”

Top photo: (From left) Faculty members Assistant Professor Rafael Martinez, Assistant Professor Vanessa Fonseca Chávez, Lecturer Laurie Ralston and Dean Duane Roen flash pitchforks at the COVID-19-modified College of Integrative Sciences and Arts celebration on May 3, in the Santa Catalina Hall breezeway on the Polytechnic campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU News

Scott Seckel
scott.seckel@asu.edu