In one of the region’s first graduations during a strange spring, the University of Portland offered a livestreamed ceremony May 3 that included speakers, singers and each graduate’s name read aloud with a photo.

Families watched at home as 1,071 students received degrees. Usually held in the school’s North Portland sports dome, graduation this year was made up of thousands of gatherings in living rooms around the nation.

“The University of Portland graduation ceremony online was lovely,” said Jean Mitchell, a member of The Madeleine Parish, a U.P. alumna and grandmother of 2020 graduate Olivia Mitchell. Olivia, vice president of the school’s student government, sat in her family’s front room in Hood River to watch with many purple balloons surrounding her.

Olivia’s father, John Mitchell, had asked friends and family to record 30-second video clips of congratulations. The patched together movie lasted 41 minutes and included a song and dance by Olivia’s parents and siblings.

“It was not the graduation we all expected, but it was a delightful celebration,” said Jean Mitchell.

Several days before the online ceremony, each graduating student received a box at home containing a cap and gown, tassel, diploma cover, a commemorative pint glass, the commencement program, a letter from university President Father Mark Poorman and individualized surprises based on field of study and honors.

Streamed from small Doyle Auditorium on campus, commencement was available in both English and Spanish. The web link included a flipbook program and many campus photos and videos.

Holy Cross Father Jim Gallagher, head of campus ministry, started the ceremony with a sober but hopeful invocation.

“Engaging in the great academic endeavor, we have witnessed the beauty, wonder, complexity and grandeur of this world,” Father Gallagher prayed. “We have also come to see how woven into it are struggle, hardship, inequity and tragedy.” He said that while all is not as we would like, it is possible to thank God for “gifts we received along the way.”

Holy Cross Father Mark Poorman, president of U.P., discussed the virtues he hopes the class of 2020 will take with them into the world: perseverance, wisdom, faith, generosity and joy.

“I hope the virtue of faith is yours in the days ahead,” Father Poorman told graduates. “Faith is learning and knowing and believing the truth that everything comes from God and everything goes to God and that all we know is grace.”

He said that nurturing faith is a “charism” at U.P.

In a moment made more emotional because of the heroism of health care workers amid the pandemic, Casey Shillam, dean of the school of nursing, announced that 175 graduates are ready to enter the workforce.

Thomas Greene, provost and 37-year veteran of the university, was master of ceremonies one last time. About to retire, Greene also received the university’s highest honor, the Christus Magister medal.