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Spring Commencements Harness Creativity
With safety the highest priority, Catholic colleges and universities capped an unusual academic year with celebrations that showed continuing resilience
Some took place virtually, while others were held in person. Some were held in open-air stadiums and others were indoors, with social distancing measures in place. No matter how spring commencement was celebrated, ACCU’s member institutions showed their ingenuity and commitment to community.
Following the first full academic year within the COVID-19 pandemic, many campuses celebrated graduates of both the Class of 2021 and the Class of 2020, which had its celebrations postponed last year. To accommodate crowds, commencements often took place over multiple days and sometimes in more than one location to allow for fewer people to gather at one time. Other universities relocated the festivities to an off-campus setting that offered more space for social distancing. Others were held in a fully virtual setting to ensure safety.
Among the more creative approaches was Molloy College, which held both a virtual and a drive-in commencement. For the in-person event, every graduate was allowed one car, where friends and families were asked to remain, watching the ceremony on large outdoor screens.
Similarly, Saint Xavier University celebrated 2020 and 2021 graduates with a fully virtual event, as well as a special in-person Commencement Walk. The walk was a gathering that allowed graduates the experience of “crossing the stage” as their names were announced, congratulated by SXU officials.
ACCU extends its congratulations all the ACCU member institutions on their innovative, safety-minded approaches to this year’s commencements and, of course, to all new graduates!
We sincerely thank each of the ACCU member institutions that submitted photos for this feature.