On Jan. 18, the University announced that the Class of 2022 Commencement will be in-person, institution-wide. The ceremony will be on Friday, May 13 in Fauver Stadium. According to the University, it will be complete with its traditional activities over the weekend, including commencement speeches.
Due to the pandemic, all in-person traditions have been postponed or significantly altered until now. Senior Monique Nichols also noted the strange transition of having the ceremony in-person after the new normal of online events. “My brother had to graduate online and I don’t think he even attended his ceremony. He got his diploma handed to him very unceremoniously by a UPS driver. I saw how much that sucked after all his hard work, and I’m excited that I won’t have to experience that disappointment as well,” she said.
Though COVID-19 is still a concern, UR anticipates “that the situation will have changed enough to allow for a large outdoor event,” according to the Newscenter article that initially addressed the announcement.
The article goes on: each graduate will have a limited number of tickets for family and friends. Fauver Stadium will be set up with additional seating, accommodating about 14,000 people in total.
Senior Stella Wilkins told CT in an interview that she expected the ceremony to be in-person, and isn’t too concerned with COVID-19 unless trends change. She’s rather more concerned about logistics: “How many tickets [does] each student get and how does the ceremony work? The last normal graduation was during my [first] year, so I have no idea what it’s supposed to be like.”
According to the article, President Mangelsdorf, representatives of the Board of Trustees, alumni, and representatives from undergraduate and graduate students will speak at the ceremony. Students will be personally recognized at their individual department ceremonies and receive their diplomas. The ceremony will also include the procession of students, “identified by pennants to designate each group by school — faculty representatives and a platform party of guests and dignitaries.”
Organized by the Office of the Secretary, the Commencement planning team is working with the Coronavirus University Restart Team (CURT) to “follow campus, county, and state health protocols to ensure a safe and successful ceremony.”
Nichols voiced that she was “stoked” that the ceremony would be in-person but had some concerns. “I was on the fence about it, honestly it was like a flip of the coin to me especially with Omicron heating up earlier this month. I have some concerns about what protocols will be in place to make sure everyone who is traveling to campus is COVID-free and how social distancing and masks will be mandated.”
The article states that throughout the spring semester, Commencement 2022 plans will be continually analyzed and updated on the Commencement 2022 website, as well as through newsletters and social media.
“I’m mostly looking forward to my mom and other family finally being able to visit me in my cute little house, […] and that brief feeling of ‘we made it’ before our next steps begin,” said Wilkins.