/2020 Spring graduates views on cancelled commencement
Lower half of individual in graduate gown, holding their cap and walking across a leaf covered lawn.Photo by Kathryn B Photography.

2020 Spring graduates views on cancelled commencement

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the University of Montevallo originally delayed commencement until Aug. 7, but announced recently it would be postponed again.  

A survey sent out to graduated seniors asked if they would prefer to have a recognition video or to postpone commencement and have an in-person ceremony.  

Many, like psychology graduate Carrie Wells, feel strongly about holding the official celebration.  

“I would absolutely attend commencement at a later date, even if it takes a year!” said Wells. “I am looking forward to starting my new job and will celebrate officially whenever I can wear my cap and gown and be recognized as a graduate in person, not virtually!”  

Waid Jones, a graduate with a degree in political science and the former editor-in-chief of The Alabamian stated it more strongly. 

“I don’t know how to emphasize that there are few things I want less in my life than a video tribute to the class of 2020. I’d rather come back and graduate in 2021,” said Jones in a tweet on July 13.  

“I think walking across Flower Hill is such an iconic moment in the life of a UM student, and I’d feel disappointed if I never got that opportunity,” said Zoe Scott, a double major in political science and environmental studies graduate, and the former SGA senate clerk.  

For some, attending commencement might be difficult. Madison Hollon, a graduate with a BS in political science and the former SGA vice president, has moved to Maryland to earn a master’s in public policy.  

“I’m unaware if I would be able to not only afford a flight back, but if it would be feasible given the potential for a second wave of this virus,” said Hollon.  

Most graduates support holding an in-person commencement, but some expressed weariness over the continued delay.  

“The excitement is kind of gone to be honest,” said Makayla Wright, a graduate with a BFA in art concentrating on graphic design, and the former editor-in-chief of Montage. “I’m assuming that we’re not going to have graduation until around summer of 2021. I feel that the University should have went ahead and had some sort of video tribute in May, even if they still planned on having commencement later.” 

Justin Williams, former senior class president and an accounting major, also expressed feelings that perhaps a video would be a good decision.  

“I’d love the idea of still having an in-person commencement, but times are very uncertain right now and I think that a commemorative video would serve us well,” said Williams.  

Both Williams and Wright said they would still attend an in-person commencement if able.  

The University has now announced that it intends to postpone commencement and hold it at a later date. No date has been chosen yet.  

“We’d love to do it on campus, but we don’t know when it will be,” said the UM president Dr. John W. Stewart III.  

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Harrison Neville is the previous Editor in chief for The Alabamian. He is a fourth-year English major whose hobbies include reading, hiking, cooking and writing. He has previously worked for The Alabamian as a managing editor, distribution manager, copy editor and SGA columnist.