DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Sunday was a day to remember at Duke University.
It was a moment that many hoped would happen last year, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 graduates of Duke University were finally able to have their commencement ceremony.
“We stand in luminous awe because we actually made it to this day,” said Rev. Dr. Luke Powery, Dean of Duke University Chapel.
The ceremony was held in person more than a year later.
Actor and comedian Ken Jeong, who is a licensed doctor with degrees from the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine and Duke, was one of several honorees.
He delivered a very emotional keynote speech.
“As Duke graduates, you are being put in a position to succeed and lead. Find your passion. Find your identity and use both to lead,” Jeong said.
“It’s hard to know what to say right now except that. I look at you because I was you. I am you,” he later said.
While the signs of the pandemic were still evident with masks being worn during the ceremony, Jeong delivered a hopeful message.
“Don’t deny your potential. I’m living proof of what your potential can be,” he said.
The other honorees include Mary Schmidt Campbell, a leader in higher education. Also, Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman were honored. Their research led to the creation of COVID-19 vaccines.