10 Things that Made 2021 a Year to Remember

The Communications Team
Four photos make up the header image.

This is not your average year-in-review list. That’s because we’re celebrating being here - not just on Zoom, but IRL. And it felt good, we dare say even normal, to be on campus together. Yes, the pandemic is still here and still very real, but 2021 hit different and we’re rewinding the clock to take a look back. 

1. Double the Fun 

What’s better than welcoming a new class to campus? Welcoming two! In August, the Class of 2025 officially became part of the Pride, and the 2024-ers finally came to campus after so many spent year one learning remotely. And we’re so happy to see their beautiful faces.

2. Let the Games Begin

Let’s face it, we missed cheering on the Pride in 2020. After COVID led to canceled seasons and modified game schedules, players and fans were elated in spring 2021 when the MAC Conference announced the return of competitions and in-person spectators. Nothing like watching our teams roar back into action - iykyk.

3. Green Scene 

We rolled out multiple new academic programs this year, including the new Green Chemistry major. DYK we are the first university on the East Coast to offer it? Picture: curriculum informed by sustainability, faculty doing environmentally conscious research, and you, all ready for an eco-conscious career in a sector poised to catch 🔥 with jobs.

Two students in lab coats, masks and goggles work in a lab with equipment and a notebook

4. Sushi and Starbucks  

Dining’s big makeover finally got the audience it was craving. From lattes and cold brews to sushi, salads and healthy grab-and-go food boxes, the meal scene on campus saw a major glow up. And we’ve balanced healthy with comfort because those fried chicken tenders from your childhood memories are just inside the UC doors, too. (Nobody canceled the legendary chocolate chip cookies. They’re safe.)

Students sit at tables in Starbucks working on their laptops

5. Mind Matters 

College is hard. The pandemic is hard. #MentalHealthMatters – and Widener cares about supporting its students. We moved the Counseling and Psychological Services office to a more central location on 14th street, hired two new therapists, and launched the TAO Connect online resource, making a personalized mental health toolkit available to everyone in the university community 24/7. 

6. In-Person Commencement  

Four days. Nine mini ceremonies. Two drive-through ceremonies. One hub of virtual content. Phew, tired just thinking about it! In May, we successfully held commencement celebrations for 2021 and 2020 graduates (who missed out on the in-person fanfare the year before). The memory of that week lives rent free in our heads. 

7. Great Employer 

Widener was named a Great College to Work For in one of the country’s largest, most respected workplace recognition programs. We were honored in four areas, including Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging for demonstrating commitment to those things. Happy workers help make a happy university. We’re All Widener 💙💛

8. Home Sweet Home (cue Delco accent) 

The shift back to traditional in-person annual events that we know and love this fall undoubtedly gave us all the feels. This year’s Homecoming was no different. From PMC graduates to our youngest alumni, having our extended members of the Pride back for the first time in over a year reminded us of why Widener truly is our second home - and we’re here for it.

The back of a student wearing a blue shirt that says "#HomeAtWU 21" as they watch the football game

9. What’s in a Name? 

We officially dedicated the Army ROTC center to Gen. John H. Tilelli Jr., a 1963 graduate of Pennsylvania Military College and member of the Widener Board of Trustees, which he chaired for five years. He’s a retired four-star general and a champion for soldiers who answer the call to serve – including the cadets in Widener’s Dauntless Battalion. He calls them “America’s best.” We know he is, too.

General John Tilelli cuts a yellow ribbon while surrounded by Trustees during the R-O-T-C naming dedication

10. 200 Years, and Counting 

HBD, Widener! Excuse us while we flex for our 200th year of educating leaders and innovators. Join us as we continue to celebrate our bicentennial anniversary while we look back at our past, recognize our present, and build our vision for the next 200 years. 

Widener University's bicentennial banner reads 200 years historic future.

Bye for now. See you in 2022!

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