Tuesday, May 12, 2020

University of Illinois Springfield holds virtual commencement

It's one of the most celebrated days of many people's lives, but as COVID-19 has forced large events to be put on hold, graduation ceremonies across the country have been canceled, as well.

University of Illinois Springfield said they're still honoring their students, but now in a safer way.

"It's really impossible to replace that moment with all their families cheering, and I’m going to miss that and they're going to miss that, and that's a shame, but we have to keep everybody safe and healthy," UIS Chancellor Susan Koch said.

There were no tassels and gowns, no cheering families, and no handshakes on stage. Yet, there were still tears of joy on graduation day. For the 1,179 graduates from UIS this year, it wasn't how they imagined their graduation. However, despite a global pandemic, the Class of 2020 was still honored in a special, virtual way.

The university created a virtual graduation ceremony that features faculty and students celebrating their achievements. Killeen ended the ceremony with an official naming of each college and the presentation of the degrees. Koch said the university plans to resume on-campus instruction in the fall and hold a physical graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 later in the year.

"What led us to deciding that it's important to have a face-to-face event -- even if it's much smaller, even if a much smaller number of students can come -- is that it's important to our students, and they told us that it was important," Koch said.

This story aired on WICS Newschannel 20 on May 9, 2020..

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