With this past year being filled with restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic many events have been postponed or even cancelled. But the university has announced that the class of 2021 will have the option of attending an in person graduation. We were curious to see the thoughts and opinions of the students who this will affect. 

St. Joseph’s University emailed students in March letting students know that there would be an in person commencement ceremony. The university has decided to give students the option of having the ceremony virtual or in person. If the student chooses to go virtual there will be a slide show during the ceremony that is happening on school grounds. The students are allowed four tickets in total. Two will be on the field with the graduates and two will be on another field watching the virtual graduation. There are health regulations in place. Such as all attendees wearing a face mask. 

Screenshot of an example of the graduation slide each student will receive. Can be found on the St. Joesph’s University website.

Student Responses 

Many students are excited that they are able to have an in person graduation. One student said “ I waited all four years to walk down the aisle and receive my diploma, and I am so thankful that the university is making this happen.” It is well understood that students work hard for four years , and that receiving a diploma through a commencement ceremony is what many hope for. Some students may feel as if they never actually graduated if they did not have a proper graduation. The Class of 2020 had a virtual graduation, but the university does have something planned in person for them to celebrate this fall. 

Picture of graduates holding their diplomas. Can be found on the St. Joseph’s University website.

On the other hand, some students have voiced their concerns about having an in person graduation because they are afraid that not everyone will follow the guidelines, and that it can turn into an event that is a super spreader. A few students mentioned that since commencement is in May they are afraid it will be hot and attendees will take off their masks without caution. According to our poll on Instagram, more than 97% of the students answered that they will be attending graduation in person. Although these results are important , we do not have a reason as to why these students are attending virtually. 

Overall, the university deciding on an in person commencement option is in accordance with state laws and regulations. As mentioned above some students are eager to receive their diplomas in the “typical” way, while other students are concerned due to the safety of their health. But regardless if the students choose an in person or virtual option they will still graduate on the same day and receive their diplomas. Congratulations to the class of 2021!

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