May 6, 2020 | By: Aimee Nielson

Graduating college amid a global pandemic is far from how 2020 spring graduates envisioned ending their time at the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Even though they won’t be taking that famous rite of passage across the Rupp Arena stage, the college’s alumni association is making sure the transition is memorable.

“Along with the Office of Philanthropy and Alumni, our association felt it was imperative to celebrate our spring graduates,” said Jonathan Furnish, executive director of the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment Alumni Association. “It would have been easy to send a simple congratulatory message or a nice letter with their diploma, but we wanted them to have something really meaningful.”

Furnish worked with a college-wide team to create a celebration box for graduates. The box welcomes them into the alumni association and includes the usual new graduate information that will help them stay connected to and involved with the college. This is where tradition ends and the celebration begins. Each box contains a confetti launcher, tech tattoos for their favorite devices, a business card holder and a commemorative print that will remind graduates what the college means to them.

“We asked Kentucky artist Rachel Sinclair to represent every major from the college and fit it into the shape of the state,” Furnish said. “What she came up with is a beautiful representation of what our college offers including some familiar campus landmarks.”

Furnish and the team included a card to guide graduates online to view a congratulatory video featuring a message from Dean Nancy Cox, college alumni and familiar faculty

“We recognize this is not the way most graduates wanted to bid farewell to their time at UK,” Furnish said. “We wanted to show them we are very proud of all they have accomplished and that we are cheering them on in their future careers and endeavors. We really hope they stay in touch and get involved in the alumni association.”