TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The University of Arizona will host a series of in-person graduation ceremonies in May.
For some students, this comes as welcome news, especially for freshman Cole Bechler. He missed out on his traditional high school graduation — something he wouldn’t want anyone else to miss out on.
“It’s exciting for those people who are graduating, and it’s another step that’s needed,” Bechler said. “You obviously don’t want to have a virtual graduation, that’s no fun. You want to really go out and have that experience you can look back on.”
University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins said May’s graduation events will be smaller than the normal university-wide commencement ceremonies, with only about 1,000 students per ceremony.
“This past year has obviously been very, very challenging, and I know that it’s had a significant impact on the senior year of this graduating class,” Robbins said. “We’re all looking forward to coming together, in a different but memorable way, to celebrate the academic achievements of the class of 2021.”
Students will be able to walk in regalia and be recognized individually on the jumbotron at the University of Arizona stadium. Spectators will not be allowed, but the ceremonies will still be streamed. Smaller colleges and groups may have smaller graduation ceremonies at different locations around campus, though the details are not completely ironed out.
“I think it would be great because then they get to experience their graduation,” said Emma Davis, a UA sophomore.
The ceremonies are set for May 11 to May 18. The school, which made the announcement Monday, March 8, said it plans to offer most classes fully in-person come fall. Another idea some students agree with.
“Online has been really tough to get everything because it always shuts down. ... Online’s really hard,” Davis said.
The school said the ceremonies would be streamed online and updates would be posted at https://commencement.arizona.edu/.
Students are required to RSVP to attend, and the reservations will open the first week of April.
The university is in stage two of its reentry plan, with classes of fewer than 50 students allowed to meet in person.
Robbins said he anticipates all faculty and staff will be able to get vaccinated this spring and said he is committed to “ensuring students can be vaccinated swiftly, as soon as they are eligible.”