More than 400 degrees were conferred on graduates over a commencement weekend that stands apart in the college’s history.

As the first events of their kind at the Amherst campus since the late 1950s, the college’s 70th commencement safely brought together the Daemen community to celebrate the achievement and persistence of the Class of 2021.

The weekend proved to be as special and exuberant an occasion as the last year had been challenging and unpredictable.

Graduates and their families heard from an array of accomplished alumni and honored guests. The number of capacity-controlled events—six ceremonies over two days—allowed for more speakers (and wisdom offered to graduates) than in years past.

“You’ve overcome things … no one could have predicted,” alum Sue Falsone ’96, the first female head athletic trainer in a major American professional sports league, told graduates. “There was no blueprint, no previous experience for anyone to draw upon … but here you are graduating—in and of itself quite the accomplishment.”

NCAA President Mark Emmert spoke about how practicing three simple values—grit, optimism, and trust—can make a significant difference in graduates’ careers and lives. “If you give trust to people—if you trust them 99 percent of the time, they will return that trust,” he said. “If you support them 99 percent of the time, they’ll support you.”

Scott Bieler—CEO and president of West Herr—shared thoughts stemming from his rise from vehicle salesperson to leader of the largest business of its kind in New York State.

“Nothing in this world could take the place of persistence,” said Bieler, who received an honorary doctorate degree from Daemen. “Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.”

Dean Michael Brogan delivered a message on the enduring benefit of deep and well-rounded education. “Education is freeing—it saves us from small-mindedness,” said Brogan, also senior vice president of academic affairs. “It’s a time-tested, 100 percent cure for boredom.”

In closing, he welcomed the college’s newest alums into their new distinction: “We are so honored to have each and every one of you as part of the Daemen family.”