Up North: Bulldogs celebrate graduation paddleboarding in full regalia | www.WDIO.com

Up North: Bulldogs celebrate graduation paddleboarding in full regalia

Alicia Tipcke
Updated: May 12, 2021 11:10 PM
Created: May 11, 2021 08:33 PM

Thousands of University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) students graduated on Saturday.

While they weren't able to cross the stage many still had a memorable graduation experience. Some even paddleboarded across the Duluth harbor in full cap and gown.

This spring the pandemic drained all the pomp and circumstance out of UMD's graduation. No one walked the stage, grabbed a diploma, or threw their hat.

Grads simply saw their photos in a slide show. So alum Jared Munch concocted a plan to give his fellow Bulldogs the sendoff they deserved.

"We are going on cap and gown guided stand up paddleboard tours," said Munch, an instructor with SUPerior Paddle Academy.

"This is the interesting part of my day. Otherwise it was all PowerPoint presentations," said 2021 UMD graduate Souvik Roy.

"It's a pretty cool way to end it off just because the actual ceremony was kind of a little bit disappointing," said fellow 2021 grad Hannah Holmberg. "This is definitely an up for me. It's really nice to finally be able to get something that feels like I'm actually like commemorating what I did here."

Munch got the idea from taking himself on a solo cap and gown paddle in 2019.

"Now, two years later, I just want to help other people have the same experience that I've had," Munch explained.

Graduates suited up inside the Duluth entry harbor.

Many were new to stand up paddleboarding, so the adventure began with on land instructions. Then they paddled off from the beach through the canal.

I've never really paddle boarded in waves, so we'll see how it goes if it gets windy," Holmberg said.

Strong gusts didn't keep the crew at bay.

Emerging under the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge they succeeded in blowing their online ceremony out of the water.

"I'm moving out of Duluth after this so yeah, this will be, this will definitely be my Facebook profile picture," laughed Roy. 

Munch and SUPerior Paddle Academy hope to offer the same opportunity to College of St. Scholastica (CSS) graduates this Saturday, May 15th. 


Alicia Tipcke

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