Seniors Reflect on the Loss of Spring Commencement

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Michael Conway, Reporter

Members of the Misericordia University Class of 2020 may leave campus with a degree, but they won’t leave with a graduation ceremony, something some seniors had a lot to say about.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Misericordia, along with colleges across the country, has canceled all on-campus events, including graduation ceremonies. Though university officials said May 2020 graduates may walk in a physical ceremony in December 2020, many graduates don’t like that idea.

To celebrate the Class of 2020, Misericordia is offering virtual events such as digital signage downloads, an online message board, video messages from faculty and staff on campus, and a virtual prayer service.

Jessie McDonough, senior education major, said that, while he is happy there are options, nothing compares to a spring commencement ceremony.

“I’m glad that they’re giving us an option for graduation, but it’s just not going to feel like it’s my own,” he said.

Aaron Barry, senior health science major, isn’t satisfied with the options presented by university officials.

“I think it’s pointless for people to have to make a decision to come back to Dallas just for a graduation ceremony in December when they don’t know 100% what they’re going to be doing at that time,” he said.

Chris Lynn, senior accounting and business administration major, isn’t worried for students going to graduate school, though, because they’ll have another chance to have a ceremony.

“Personally, I don’t care because I’m going to have another graduation for grad school,” Lynn said. “But I think that the December graduation is stupid because if the school did its job, we should all have entered the workforce by then and we already would have moved on from celebrating for graduation.”

Student Government Association president and senior mass communications and design major Mike Diakunczak doesn’t think walking in the December commencement ceremony will feel the same as walking in the spring.

“It sucks. Despite having the opportunity to graduate in December, it’s just not the same, but it is what it is,” he said.

There has also been discussion among students about graduation fees, and whether or not they should be returned to seniors.

Lynn definitely thinks seniors should be refunded their graduation fees.

“We should get our graduation fee back because I can’t imagine that printing and sending a diploma costs nearly $200,” he said.

Lauren Smith, senior nursing major agreed, saying it’s what is fair for the seniors who don’t get to walk across the stage.

“Personally, I think that we shouldn’t have to pay a graduation fee since we aren’t having one. I think we should’ve gotten a discount for caps and gowns because there’s so much we’re missing out on. It’s a sad time for everyone and the university is losing money, but we’re not getting what we paid for,” she said.

Though some students are seeing this as a negative, others are grateful for the opportunities the university has given to recognize the Class of 2020.

“Given the circumstances, I completely understand why we are not having a ceremony to celebrate me and my fellow classmates’ accomplishments,” said Mitch Frantz, senior sports management major. “With that being said, I feel like walking in December like the school has announced wouldn’t feel right. But I am content that they at least gave us an option during these unprecedented times.”

There isn’t much the university can do about graduation, but seniors we spoke to agreed their time at Misericordia has provided them with unique events to recognize them, whether it be in the classroom, on the field, court, track, or in the pool and the community.