Commencement ceremonies to happen on campus


Photo credit/ Briana Ryan

Marywood University’s commencement will take place on campus on May 15.

Cheyenne Amick, Assistant News Editor

After last year’s commencement ceremony was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Marywood University will hold this year’s ceremony in person.

To accommodate COVID-19 protocols, the university has modified the format of the ceremony.

According to the Director of Conference and Event Services John Coval, for the last 13 years, the university has held one combined ceremony for undergraduate and graduate students.

However, this year there will be four separate ceremonies. These ceremonies will take place on campus on May 15 at the following times:
9:00 a.m.: College of Health and Human Services at McGowan Parking Lot
11:00 a.m.: College of Arts and Sciences at Campus Green
1:00 p.m.: College of Health and Human Services at McGowan Parking Lot
3:00 p.m. College of Professional Studies at Campus Green

Coval explained that the College of Health and Human Services will have two ceremonies due to the size of the college.

“The College of Health and Human Services is so large we needed to divide it into two different programs,” explained Coval. “That college is actually having two ceremonies based on the department the student will be in.”’

The first ceremony for the College of Health and Human Services will consist of the following programs: Communication Sciences Disorders, Nutrition and Dietetics, and the School of Social Work. Commencement for the college’s other programs will take place during the college’s second ceremony.

Attendance for these ceremonies will be limited to accommodate social distancing. Each student will be allowed to bring two guests to their designated ceremony. The tickets for commencement will be mailed to the address on file to register for the ceremony.

Additionally, faculty are encouraged to only attend the ceremony that corresponds with their college. However, faculty that teach general-education classes may decide whether they wish to attend more than one ceremony.

Each ceremony will occur under large tents, like those used for classes during the fall 2020 semester. Students and their guests will be seated together under the main tent. On each side of the main tent, there will also be smaller, auxiliary tents for faculty.

This year’s guest speaker, Tony Award-winning author Stephen Karam, was asked to provide a video of his speech that will be played inside the tent and shared during the online streaming of each ceremony.

One long-standing tradition that will not take place this year is the annual hooding ceremony. Traditionally, a hooding ceremony is where a student hands their hood to a faculty member. That faculty member then places the hood over your head.

“Out of Covid-19, we are trying to limit contact, personal contact with individuals and we are trying to keep the timing of any contact very limited,” said Coval. “Due to that, there is no hooding this year.”

Coval explained that these commencement activities will not be the new norm for the university and are only temporary adjustments for as long as the pandemic continues.

“Our goal would be to have one ceremony again, one inclusive ceremony, and have it back at the Mohegan Sun Arena,” said Coval.

Marywood University signs a one-year, renewable contract with Mohegan Sun Arena as that is all the arena offers. The university has notified the arena that commencement ceremonies will not be happening there this year and will request to reinstate the contract for next year.

Student Government Association (SGA) President and Senior Computer Science and Information Security Major Alexis Palys said she is thankful and excited to graduate in person.

“I think this year’s graduation goes to show how dedicated Marywood is to their students. It would have been a lot cheaper and less time-consuming to just throw an online graduation like many other universities are, but they recognize what the students want and deserve,” said Palys.

Ceremonies will be streamed online for those who cannot attend in person. Links for each college’s respective stream will be available on the university’s commencement website.

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