The class of 2021 will have the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments at an in-person commencement ceremony according to an email sent out by President José Padilla on April 19.
In order to abide by COVID-19 safety protocols, Valpo has split commencement into six different ceremonies. Each college will have its own separate ceremony with the College of Arts and Sciences being split in two. All ceremonies will be held in the Athletics and Recreation Center (ARC).
Commencement ceremonies will take place on Saturday, May 15 and Sunday, May 16.
The ceremonies for the Colleges of Business, Engineering, and Nursing and Health Professions will take place on May 15, as well as the Graduate School ceremony.
The festivities will continue on May 16 with two ceremonies for the College of Arts and Sciences and a ticketed Baccalaureate Service, a religious service to honor graduates, that will be held in the Chapel, also live streamed.
“We’ll also split up arts and sciences into two in order to decrease the density [of students],” Padilla said in an interview with WVUR.
While commencement will look different from years past, many senior students are happy at the news.
“I’m excited that we are able to graduate in person and that we have the opportunity to graduate with our peers and that we can see some of our friends graduating. I’m also really excited that we do get to invite two people so that my parents can celebrate with me because they obviously have been a huge asset to everything I’ve done,” social work and sociology major Natalie Kasberger said.
Kasberger’s thoughts were echoed by fellow senior and public health major Emily Thomason.
“I'm really excited that they were able to find some sort of compromise with having an in person graduation because even though we have a limited number of guests, I think it's still worth it,” Thomason said.
Each graduate will receive only two guest tickets. Other supporters of graduates will be able to watch the ceremonies through a live stream on the commencement website.
“I definitely agree with the two person ticket limit but I have to make some decisions and disappoint some people because my parents are divorced and I’m sure that’s the case for many people,” Kasberger said.
However, due to capacity restrictions, faculty will not be able to attend the ceremonies.
“I was a little disappointed that our professors won't be there...Being from Wisconsin, I don’t go home much so when I’m having a bad day or I need something I go to my professors because they're here...they were the people that were always right there and the people that I spent a lot of time with,” Kasberger said.
Guest seats will be distanced and face masks will be required for all attendees.
According to Padilla’s email, the efforts of the campus community has allowed the commencement to take place.
“Thank you for doing your part to keep our COVID-19 numbers to a minimum on campus. It has been a challenging year, but the ability to host in-person commencement ceremonies is a direct reflection of our campus’ dedication to safety measures put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” the email read.
Updates on the 2021 spring commencement will be posted to the commencement website.