2020 English Department Spring Commencement

Click here to download the program:
2020 Commencement Address
Lyn Hejinian, John F. Hotchkis Professor of English
2020 Student Speech
Caitlyn Jordan, 2020 English Department Citation Winner
2020 Student Speech
Gitika Nalwa
Congratulations to the class of 2020 from the Berkeley English faculty and staff!
Click here to download a commencement scroll:


Congratulations to the Class of 2020!

Thank you to all the faculty and students who made my experience in the English major a truly positive one! As a double major, I was always super excited to attend my English classes and bond with others over literature and language. I have learned so much over the past 4 years, and I will always cherish the memories I made at Cal!

—Tia Chen-Wong

During my sophomore year, I was going through some really difficult personal matters that were interfering with my schoolwork. I decided to open up about this to one of my professors, Elizabeth Abel, and she was so compassionate towards me and helped me receive accommodations for my anxiety. She even showed me where the DSP office was located on campus and helped me get registered. I'll never forget how sweet she was to me.

—Maya Santos

I think about the hot yoga and alternative music and alternative gods and,
I think about the crush of people on Sproul
I think about the Bart slicing noisily across the Bay
I think about SF trips, and nights in Oakland,
I think about shortcuts and taking the long way home
I think about the Bay and it breaks my heart

—Maryam Khan

I'd like to say a sincere thank you to my fellow classmates for keeping me inspired, making me smarter, and reminding me what it means to be a humanities major at Cal. Let us remember to always remain passionate and critical; through words, we will influence and change the world.

—Shellie Wharton

"Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome." —unknown. Congratulations to all my fellow classmates. We have overcome a lot and we graduated!

—Nelsi Raquel Lemus Alvarado

"For books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are" —"Areopagitica" by John Milton


Instead of allowing these unconventional circumstances to sully my memory of my time here, I’m choosing to reflect on all of the amazing experiences I had throughout my time at Cal. Moments like meeting and talking to renowned authors such as Viet Thanh Nguyen are once in a lifetime, and I will carry those lucky moments with me always.

—Nina Moskowitz

"We imagine that when we are thrown out of our usual ruts all is lost, but it is only then that what is new and good begins. While there is life there is happiness. There is much, much before us. I say this to you." Pierre, War and Peace

—Mackenzie Hofmann

...the most important thing I have learned is that I can use my studies as a vessel to explore my interests. Even in areas entirely distinct from our passions, there is always a way to find something that inspires us and ignites our work...My hope is that, going forward, we allow our vibrancy and ardor to shine wherever we are, especially in places where we are not expected to. It's been beyond a pleasure. Go Bears! (I'm so proud of us, Class of 2020.)

—Hannah McKelson

While my last semester was cut short, I think saying goodbye to Berkeley in May would have been equally painful. Berkeley is scored on my heart, and I will be eternally grateful for having the moments I was fortunate enough to have on this campus. Go Bears!

—Jasmine Erhard

“Live! Live the wonderful life that is in you! Let nothing be lost upon you. Be always searching for new sensations. Be afraid of nothing.” —Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

—Stephanie Reyna

Life is not in a book, it is to be lived, but the information of the past, can lead you to your future. In my time at Cal, I was not looking to be acknowledged in a grand way. Still, hopefully, an example to other young and older ladies to attain a higher level of education, to never give up on your dreams. Ladies, your voice needs to be heard, and you, too, need to tell the story...Now, on to the next venture...

—Gwendolyn A. Bullocks

Congratulations to the Class of 2020! We did that!

—Abrianna Palacios Rodriguez

To my fellow graduates, especially those like me who never thought they would even go to college, this last semester probably wasn't what you thought it would be. Keep in touch with former professors and classmates because they care and are there to help. It might be a rough transition out of student life, but we'll get through this!

—Vanessa Rodriguez

A quote from a fellow Honors Thesis student in the middle of writing: "It is honestly super exhausting and after I finish this section on Delay I'm taking a break before jumping into Anticlimax." It made me laugh at the time, but as this strange final semester has progressed, it feels more and more relevant to our experience

—Jade Oates