In an unprecedented time, Columbus Academy is preparing for a unique Commencement to honor its Class of 2020. The outdoor ceremony is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 25, and will be held on Hondros Field, the main stadium on our campus.

This year's guest speaker will be Dr. David Hamlar Jr. '73, an Academy alumnus who has been a teaching physician at the University of Minnesota for the past 25 years and retired as a Major General from the Minnesota Air National Guard in 2017 following a highly decorated military service career. Some of the honors he has earned are Minneapolis Rotary Citizen of the Year (2005) and Service Above Self Award (2007), State of Minnesota Distinguished Service Award (2007), Air National Guard Flight Surgeon of the Year (2008), National Guard Black Engineer of the Year (2015) and The Ohio State University Alumni Association's Archie Griffin Professional Achievement Award (2018). David was profiled in our school magazine for his humanitarian work in the summer of 2007, and his sister Deidre Hamlar served as Columbus Academy's diversity director from 2005-12.

This year's 98 graduates will matriculate to 63 different colleges and universities in 27 states and three other countries.

"While they faced difficult circumstances last spring, our Class of 2020 members will be remembered for leading academically, athletically and artistically," said Head of School Melissa Soderberg. "In addition to contributing to one of the best fall athletic seasons in recent history, they have been exceptionally talented musically and in community outreach. We are proud this class will be attending a multitude of colleges and universities that represent their broad talents."

In addition to Soderberg, other speakers will include Charlie Sabgir ’20 providing the senior class president’s welcome and Jay Gokhale ’20 delivering the valedictory address as recipient of this year’s Andrew William Cary Cup.

Should the weather prove intemperate that morning, the start of Commencement may shift to later in the day. Only immediate family is invited to attend with face masks and social distancing expected of all attendees. The entire ceremony will be broadcast on Instagram for live viewing by extended family and friends. A professionally produced Commencement DVD will also be provided to all Class of 2020 families.

Underclassmen -- including band, orchestra and choir performers -- will not be expected to attend the ceremony. Should any immediate family members require handicapped seating, please contact Executive Assistant to the Head of School Shannon Nelson at 614-509-2224 or to coordinate this effort.

“Our seniors have made it clear that they wish to be together to share this experience,” stated Soderberg in a letter for Class of 2020 families. “They want to hear their own name and the names of their classmates read aloud and to walk to the stage to receive their diploma. The faculty and staff wish to celebrate the seniors' launch into new adventures, as well.”

More details about the ceremony will be announced during the week before Commencement.