UAB students are looking forward to a return to regular commencement ceremonies after the university announced the Spring 2021 graduation will take place in person at Legion Field.
“I think that since vaccines are open to everyone now and since graduation will be outside and socially distanced with masks enforced as well, I think it’s a good decision,” said Nathan Wert, a senior majoring in digital forensics.
After last year’s commencement ceremony was canceled, a virtual option was put in place. One year later, UAB has scheduled graduation ceremonies to take place April 30 and May 1. The email said graduates likely won’t have to limit the number of guests they bring. While Alabama’s mask mandate has expired, guests and graduates will be required to wear face coverings during the commencement ceremonies.
Wert said he was excited to attend an in-person graduation, but he said he understands why some graduates may choose the university’s virtual option.
“I think it’s good that they’re giving people the remote graduation option as well so that people can choose if they want to walk or not and don’t feel pressured to go in-person if they don’t feel comfortable,” Wert said.
Olivia Harrison, a 2020 graduate, said she missed out on celebrating her accomplishments after her graduation ceremony was cancelled.
“Not even necessarily events through the university, but the reflective and special moments you have with yourself as this part of life comes to a close,” Harrison said. “It was tough having to realize I wouldn’t get to finish my final semester in person with friends or my professors.”
In an email from the university, students who missed a physical graduation in 2020 are encouraged to attend the spring commencement ceremony. Harrison said she doesn’t plan to use that option.
“For me personally, the moment has passed,” Harrison said. “I did everything I could safely do at the time to celebrate. Everyone is different though.”
Harrison said it was important to celebrate a milestone like graduation.
“I know some people have been longing for the moment to walk across that stage to commemorate their hard work over the years,” Harrison said. “Everyone deserves at least a chance to celebrate such an accomplishment.”
Karissa White, 2020 graduate, said she will be attending future commencement ceremonies to celebrate her achievements.
“I am blessed and excited that it is happening sooner rather than later,” White said.
White said was disappointed to miss her original graduation ceremony after it was canceled.
“I feel like more of an effort could’ve been put in to making the 2020 graduation time more enjoyable for the UAB students.” White said. “It’s nice to have video memories, but with all of the things learned about social distancing during 2020 I wish more could have been done to commemorate this special milestone in our lives.”
White said she is choosing to attend a future graduation ceremony to close this chapter of her life with a celebration.
“I believe in person celebrations are a good idea as long as COVID-19 regulations are truly put into effect during the event,” White said “No slacking off just because it has been a year.”