Experiencing Pandemic Change: Governors State University’s First Virtual Graduation Ceremony 2021

Gaston Beltran, Phoenix Staff writer

Virtual graduation? Okay, I’ll bite. No seriously! Here we are Jaguars, as we continue to adjust to the various waves of ‘normalcy’, virtual ceremonies are starting to become the next big trend right? Next thing you know we’re going to have to live out entire daily facets of our lives through all virtual senses! Just kidding. At least I really hope something like that isn’t totally the case… I mean we communicate virtually much more today than we ever have, so maybe that kind of future is not so far off from now, who knows?

Persistent circumstances continue to challenge all who are doing their best to adjust to these polarizing times. As for the trouble in navigating what’s going on with pandemic difficulties such as social distancing guidelines and per announcement by Dr. Cheryl Green, President of Governors State University, it would not be feasible to wait around until April, one month before graduation would be taking place, to schedule the employee power and necessary time to set up the university for graduation as has been the standard for many years and ceremonies prior to the current state of the world right now. But what Dr. Green offers as a keystone of hope in these seemingly perilous times with unknown futures and outcomes, is that they will be keeping an open mind to possibly schedule a makeshift ceremony outdoors come May, provided health and safety guidelines as well as COVID rates are within an acceptable range that they feel it safe enough to allow civil gatherings.

Dr. Green reached out to seniors last week and communicated what GSU’s plans were for graduation ceremony and had this to say. “Along with virtual commencement and doctoral hooding ceremonies, if it is possible, we will host an outdoor celebration event for our graduates. This will be in addition to the formal ceremonies and will be held only if it complies with the Governor’s and health agencies’ regulations and recommendations.

More details about the virtual ceremonies and any outdoor celebration will be provided as May draws closer.  Please keep an eye on your GSU email; check it regularly and make sure you comply with any graduation deadlines. In the meantime, know that we are working on ways to celebrate your accomplishments in spite of COVID restrictions on gatherings. Together, GSU will provide our students with a graduation experience that is meaningful and celebratory, even if it is not traditional.

Wishing all of you a productive and safe new year,
Cheryl Green, Ph.D. President”

More information will be released at the appropriate times. For now, do your best in keeping up with and checking your student emails as they will keep you up to date with the latest information surrounding graduation ceremony plans, thanks Jaguars.