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Robertson School celebrates graduates, award winners at virtual December Commencement

Dec 10, 2020

Posted in: News

The Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture is congratulating its 101 undergraduate and graduate students on their graduation at a virtual commencement on Dec. 12. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, commencement had to be moved to a virtual format this December.

Please visit the December 2020 Commencement website of the Robertson School by clicking on the image below:


"You have been tested like no graduating class before"

"This is a very special day for you, it’s your college graduation," said Director Dr. Marcus Messner in a pre-recorded video message to the graduates. "I want to say congratulations to you from all of us here at the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, from all of our faculty and staff."

"You have been tested this year like no graduating class in our school has been before. You switched with us to remote education at a week’s notice at the beginning of the pandemic in the spring. And you worked through a combination of in-person, hybrid and online classes this fall. Your life has been disrupted like we could have never imagined. But none of this could stop you. You went to work, you were determined to make it, and you succeeded."

"Pursue your dream"

Danny Robinson, chief creative officer of The Martin Agency and member the Robertson School Advisory Board, recalled in his pre-recorded message how he lost his dream job just as his career got started. "As you pursue your dream, know that that dream is going to change. Know that who you are is going to change," he said. "And as you're pursuing those dreams, remember do not let that career and those dreams define who you are."

"Congratulations, good luck," Robinson told the graduates.

"Keep learning, keep growing, keep going"

The Robertson School also asked one of the graduating students, public relations senior Bianca Fermin, to address the graduating class. "As the seasons change so does our journey.  During times of uncertainty alone together, we navigated uncharted waters. Alone together we have overcome, adapted, and evolved. You showed up day in and day out to reach this goal and I hope you continue to do so for what's important in life," Fermin said in a video message

"I’m sure today will be the first of many proud, successful moments for you. May you always dare to do great things.  Keep learning, keep growing, keep going," she added. "You are the class of change. This is the beginning of forever. Make it real."

Faculty honor outstanding students

Honored with the Robertson School's Fall 2020 Faculty Awards: Ada Romano (top left), Chris Woodum (top right), Bianca Fermin (bottom left), Elizabeth Dozier (bottom middle), and Caitlin Sherman (bottom right). 

The Robertson School are also honoring five outstanding students with the Fall 2020 Faculty Awards. In the selection process for the Faculty Awards, faculty look for students who distinguished themselves while at VCU and in the Robertson School. This could be through campus involvement in clubs and organizations, amazing class work, demonstrating a can-do attitude or being an unforgettable member of the Robertson School family. Faculty vote on the awards for graduating students in each of the School’s undergraduate programs.

Caitlin Sherman, Creative Advertising - When curiosity is combined with energy, refreshing ideas are certain to follow. Caitlin Sherman has that combination, plus more. She is a prolific thinker with a process that produces interesting work. She never shies away from taking smart risks and trying unusual ideas. Her sense of humor and kind spirit is an asset in classes and on teams.

Chris Woodum, Strategic Advertising - After taking a gap of a few years in his college education, Chris Woodum came to VCU with purpose. He is described as a quiet storm because he addresses each project with determination, dedication, and humility. Chris doesn’t stop. And his brain doesn’t rest either. He is always looking for a hidden insight or a fresh way to bring a strategy to life. Purpose, grit, smarts and grace. It consistently makes him a great teammate and one of the highest-performing students.

Elizabeth Dozier, Broadcast Journalism - Elizabeth Dozier was selected for Dean’s List from 2018-2020. She is a first-generation college student and the second of her siblings to earn a bachelor’s degree, having previously earned an associate's degree from Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach. Elizabeth is currently working for her family’s business where she manages the offices in two of their locations. She looks forward to pursuing a career in journalism after graduation, specifically in television news production and eventually in documentary production.

Ada Romano, Digital Journalism - Ada Cristina Romano is an immigrant from El Salvador who came to the United States with her mother at the age of two. During her time at the Robertson School, Ada focused on shedding light on issues that impact immigrant communities and was published in multiple news outlets across Virginia, the AP and The Washington Post. She is bilingual and used her skills to amplify the voices of underrepresented immigrant communities. At her job, she published content to facilitate the conversation about racism and discrimination in a corporate environment. As a first generation college student, she faced many obstacles but with the help of her “incredible support system,” she was able to succeed in her studies and beyond. Ada would like to thank her parents, Jose and Ada, for their sacrifices to get her where she is today. She plans to attend law school, where she would like to specialize in immigration law.

Bianca Fermin, Public Relations - Bianca Fermin has grown in curiosity and intellect with each semester. She has been an enthusiastic member of PRSSA at VCU and taken advantage of professional development events with PRSA Richmond, holding her own even when she was the only student among a group of seasoned professionals. Bianca asks well-informed questions in class and is always the source of lively discussion. This track record of 'bringing it' makes Bianca a sought-after team member and a role model for other students.

Congratulations, Robertson School Class of 2020!

 The Robertson School faculty and staff recorded the following video message for the December graduates: