LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Bates College kept with its tradition of holding its commencement on the historic quad on Thursday.

But there was a nod to the pandemic. Nearly 479 degrees were conferred in two complete ceremonies, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, each featuring half of the senior class.

“There will always be something extra special of the class of 2021,” Bates President Clayton Spencer said, addressing the difficulties imposed by the pandemic on students and staff.

Speakers including Yvon Chouinard, a Lewiston native and founder of outdoor clothing company Patagonia, delivered their addresses virtually. Two students, Nicole Kumbula and Munashe Machoko, also had speaking roles.

In addition to Chouinard, honorary degrees were awarded to artist Vanessa German, musician Rhiannon Giddens, and ACLU attorney and transgender activist Chase Strangio.