By Christian Trinh
For the first time in a long time, Delaware County Community College is hosting in-person graduation on May 19.
In 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic started, and the world shut down because of it. Delaware County Community College was no exception. Graduation as we know it was not an option.
DCCC and the graduation committee planned in-person exercises for 2022. After years of not having one, the college will hold graduation at West Chester University’s Hollinger Field House.
This new plan evolved because students from the classes of 2020 and 2021 did not have a proper graduation ceremony. The graduation committee did not want that to happen again.
Allyson Gleason, director of Campus Life and member of the graduation committee, said, “I am excited to bring commencement back for the students.”
This excitement has spread to the students as well. Some are even anxious to get their gowns and decorate their caps.
DCCC is doing two new things to improve the quality of the graduation: hold two ceremonies and provide online ticketing.
The ceremonies split into two divisions. First, STEM, Workforce and Economic Development, Allied Health, and Nursing graduates will be recognized in the morning. Communication, Arts & Humanities; Business Computing and Social Sciences students will graduate in the afternoon.
With ceremonies split, there will be more space in the field house, which means more people can attend.
Gleason said past space limitations often bothered graduates because not all their family and friends could attend their ceremony.
Online tickets are an improvement because some people buy tickets but never use them. Now, they could go to another individual.
While 2022 is getting in-person graduation, there were many complications the planning committee faced throughout the years.
Allyson Gleason said, “In spring of 2020, a survey of graduates showed they wanted to do something in person.”
She and the graduation committee discussed many options, but none worked out.
Gleason said, “We were hoping things would get better, but we lost that bet.” DCCC decided to postpone the ceremony in hopes of holding one at a later date, but it was impossible. The mass gathering was not a reality for 2020 graduates, who were distraught.
The school decided to do its first prerecorded online graduation ceremony in 2020. They wanted to do something for the students instead of nothing.
That virtual commencement honored the classes of Summer and Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, and Fall 2020.
In 2021, many COVID-19 restrictions were still in place. So, DCCC hosted another virtual ceremony for 2021 graduates. However, since health restrictions were more relaxed, the college hosted an outdoor graduation walk for the students.
Gleason said, “Graduates could wear their cap and gown and walk around campus, shake hands, and have their name read.”
It may not have been the same experience as an actual ceremony, but it was another offering for the 2021 graduates.
This year is the right time for graduates to celebrate their accomplishments with in-person ceremonies.
“Commencements are a very important thing. It’s a big milestone, and we want our students to feel like they accomplished something,” said Gleason.