University of Maryland to hold in-person commencement ceremony
By Celia Richardson
May 4, 2021
Image Credit: Courtesy of Good Free Photos via Unsplash
For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic hit over a year ago, the University of Maryland will hold an in-person commencement ceremony to honor its graduating class.
In an email sent out to the campus community on April 14, President Darryll Pines wrote that the university had worked with Prince George’s County to develop an in-person event that “prioritizes safety as we celebrate the academic success of our graduates.”
And many seniors are excited for the ceremony. “I will definitely be attending!” said mechanical engineering major Yelena Stuherck, who explained that it was important to both her and her parents. “It was a really big deal to have a graduation since I’m an only child and not many people in my family went to college.”
In order to ensure physical distancing and adhere to capacity limits, the university will hold two separate in-person ceremonies, Pines wrote, and students will be assigned to one of them based on their school or college. Additionally, all 2020 graduates will be invited back to campus for the opportunity to be celebrated in person.
A host of safety requirements will be in place during the ceremony. According to the university’s commencement webpage, masks and physical distancing will be required. Additionally, “there will be no student procession,” instead opting to recognize graduates from their seats. Furthermore, each graduate will only be allowed to bring two guests. And not everyone’s happy with these precautions.
“I understand the reasoning, it’s just a little disappointing,” said Dakota Goldfarb, a kinesiology major who explained that she was raised by two grandparents and her mom. “I hate that one of them has to miss it, and I know I’m not alone in that.”
With that said, Goldfarb still believes it’s “a fairly decent compromise” for the opportunity to attend in-person commencement and that “with all of the precautions, it’s as safe as it can be.”
Fire protection engineering major Aviv Kalai wanted to be able to walk across the stage, but understands that it’s “not safe yet because not everyone is vaccinated,” going on to say he wishes the university had mandated vaccination for the event.
Commencement will be held at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. at Maryland Stadium on May 21. For those who are not able to attend, an interactive virtual commencement will also take place.
“Everything has been so different...I’m looking forward to at least one semi normal thing,” said Stuherck.