TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - This weekend, students at The University of Texas at Tyler will be hosting their first in-person graduation ceremony since December of 2019.
Last year’s graduations were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When students like 2021 chemistry with physics graduate Claire McGuire returned to campus in the fall they were skeptical if they would have an in-person graduation because of the uncertainties throughout the year the pandemic continued to present.
“It has been very hectic, it has definitely been a unique experience in terms of the collegiate experience,” said McGuire.
Students were eventually told that they would have an in-person graduation in the spring. All ceremonies will be held in Patriot Plaza for the first time ever. The plan was to move ceremonies there last year until they were canceled. Masks must be worn and social distancing for both students and families will be implemented. Even though face masks and social distancing will still be a factor, students like 2021 Kinesiology graduate Korbin Hamner are just excited to have an in-person ceremony.
“I know a lot of people are worrying about the rain or if it is going to be hot but I am just excited that we are going to be here and we are actually going to have it,” said Hamner. “No matter what happens, I know it is going to be something that we are going to remember forever.”
A moment that both students say they will never forget especially after all the circumstances they have had to overcome this year.
“I did it, I got a college degree which in and of itself is not the easiest thing to do,” said McGuire. “Not only that, I did it in the pandemic and just knowing I did it, I accomplished that and that’s something that is going to go with me for forever.”
Students from the spring and fall class of 2020 will also get a chance to walk across the stage as well.