Anna Fisher – News Editor
The undergraduate and graduate Commencement Ceremonies for the Lisle and Mesa campuses will be held virtually on May 15, President Charles Gregory announced in an email last week.
“From the donning of the Cap and Gown to the ceremonial tune of Pomp and Circumstance, we have all grown to expect the day to look a certain way. That being said, as much as we may appreciate ceremonial traditions, they do not define a graduation,” President Gregory said.
The class of 2021 processed the news in different ways.
“I was annoyed for sure,” said McKayla Holmes, a senior with a finance major and Spanish minor, “It’s too early for a school to make that call, especially if they plan on returning after spring break. I think they should try to postpone it or have it with students and a photographer and no parents and livestream it.”
She acknowledges the struggle, “COVID should be taken seriously, but we are lucky enough to have a small school where we could have options to do in-person graduation. We should take advantage of that.”
Holmes is not the only student with a less-than-thrilled reaction.
“I was disappointed, to be honest, but I wasn’t surprised,” said Emma Lee, a senior majoring in music, “I expected it to happen because of how strict BenU has been.”
Last spring, the University postponed graduation festivities for October 2020, creating a collaborative two and a half hour commencement video with the Mesa campus. President Gregory alluded to possible innovation with this spring’s virtual graduation, as well.
“We are working hard to provide some form of an interactive experience for our graduates to reflect their time at Benedictine University.”
While we wait on the details of this interactivity, the President emphasized a message of hope.
“I am certain we will emerge from this experience with a stronger commitment to our faith in persevering, to this institution for all that we have gained as a community, and to the graduating class of 2021, and we look to a brighter future where we can share face-to-face celebrations once again.”
But some students lack this optimism. As Lee said, “I’m tired of their hopefulness.” She is already envisioning more inventive ways to mark her graduation: a front porch ceremony with music and familial shenanigans. The class of 2021 may have to create their own pomp—given the circumstances.