Combined Otterbein Commencement Weekend Creates Unique Two Degree Graduates

Posted Apr 28, 2021

Five students will be celebrating two back-to-back commencements on May 1. These students are both alumni of the Class of 2020 and soon-to-be graduates of the Class of 2021. 

Otterbein made the decision to postpone Commencement ceremonies for the Class of 2020 last year due to the pandemic. When the Office of Alumni and Family Engagement polled the Class of 2020, they overwhelmingly indicated the desire for an in-person celebration.  

So, the decision was made to include a 2020 ceremony during the 2021 Commencement Weekend. A ceremony for the undergraduate and graduate students of the Class of 2020 will be held on Saturday, May 1, with the ceremony for master’s and doctoral students of the Class of 2021 later that same day. The Class of 2021 undergraduates will be celebrated across three ceremonies on May 2. 

Five students have the unique distinction of graduating with their undergraduate degree in 2020 and their graduate degrees in 2021, meaning they will be recognized at both ceremonies on May 1. Three students earned bachelor’s degrees in accounting and master of business administration (MBA) degrees; one earned a bachelor’s degree in individual studies and an MBA degree; and one earned a bachelor’s degree in public health education and a master of science in allied health (MSAH) degree. 

“It’s amazing to me that in the midst of 2020, some students decided there was no better time to continue investing in themselves through education,” said Otterbein President John Comerford. “That shows real foresight and courage. I know all of us at Otterbein are proud of them.” 

Nick Hassinger '20 MBA '21
Nick Hassinger ’20 MBA ’21

Nick Hassinger is one such student who will leave Otterbein with two degrees under his arm. He is appreciative that the University did not forget about him and his fellow classmates. 

“It feels great that my friends and I can have closure to our entire academic career at Otterbein,” he said. “The fact that I’m leaving with two degrees is an even greater feeling of accomplishment during all the COVID-19 craziness.” 

Without any knowledge of an upcoming pandemic, Hassinger began his path to two degrees his junior year with the 4+1 MBA program. This program allows accounting majors to graduate with a four-year bachelor of science degree then complete their MBA degree in one additional year. This allows students to graduate with two degrees and meet all the qualifications for the certified public accountant (CPA) exam while simultaneously providing superior broad-based business expertise. 

“The 4+1 program is great and was very influential in my decision to continue my graduate education at Otterbein,” he said. 

With three non-traditional semesters now coming to a close, Otterbein’s commitment to celebrating our student’s successes for a beneficial transition to their careers has not waivered. 

As President Comerford summed it up: “These students will know they can face any challenge for the rest of their lives and careers. If you can get not just one, but two degrees in the middle of pandemic, you can truly do anything!”