On a sunny Sunday morning in late May, Gal Dahan steps to the lectern and gazes over the packed crowd that has gathered at the Wisconsin Center for Cardinal Stritch University’s graduation ceremony, the last in its 86-year history.

The undergraduate commencement speaker, clad in a black graduation gown and white stole, adjusts the uncooperative mortarboard that sits atop the dark hair that drapes past her shoulders. Surrounded on the stage by a host of university leaders, faculty and a few other speakers and presenters, Dahan launches into an emotional talk touching on the unprecedented challenges that this graduating class has faced during its time at Stritch. First, the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically altered the learning and social environment on campus. Then, with student life finally returning to normal, came the devastating announcement that the North Shore Franciscan college would permanently close.