Rock commencement photo
In honor of 2021 Commencement, graduating seniors can sign their names on Manchester’s rock located outside the Academic Center.
Photo provided by MU

Class of 2021 Commencement Is Just around the Corner

Kaleigh Gabriel

Graduation Day 2021 is only a week away!

In the final stretch of the Spring 2021 semester, Seniors are preparing for the annual commencement ceremonies and the completion of their studies at Manchester—a bittersweet occasion.

Things will look a little different for this year’s ceremony, as the University has made plans to accommodate social distancing requirements and COVID mask safety precautions. As a result, Manchester will be hosting three separate graduation ceremonies for MU’s undergraduates on Saturday, May 22. Starting at 11:30 a.m., the College of Arts and Humanities and Gilbert College of Business will hold their ceremony, followed by the College of Pharmacy, Natural, and Health Sciences at 2:30 p.m. The last ceremony, for the College of Education and Social Sciences, will commence at 4:30 p.m.

While some students have expressed their unease with the change in ceremony, many are willing to accept change if it means an in-person ceremony can be had. With COVID imposing changes to all life at Manchester, students are willing to do anything for a little bit of pre-COVID normalcy and the chance to celebrate their completed studies.

Along with excitement for the upcoming Commencement on May 22, Student Involvement has planned a variety of events specifically for graduating Seniors, including a day for signing Manchester’s rock which sits outside ACEN, a bingo brunch, decorating caps for the graduation ceremony, a trip to see Fort Wayne’s minor-league baseball team, the Tin Caps, and a Senior Toast picnic at Tall Oaks with President McFadden.

With their final days as a Manchester student winding down to single digits, seniors Lexi Collins, Emily Ewen, and Jamie Soposky reflect on their memories of MU and the impact that it has had on them.

For English major Lexi Collins, graduation means stepping into her future, but it also means that her timeline for assignments is continuously shrinking. “I am very excited to get a teaching job and do what I love,” Collins said. “But I am sad to leave and no longer be in college anymore with my lifelong friends and I also am very stressed to get everything done before graduation while finishing up homework, studying and preparing for my teaching exam, and working on the side. It’s a lot. Time needs to slow down.”

Senior English Education major Emily Ewen thought of the amazing events that she will miss once she graduates. “I will always cherish my time with the cross-country/track & field team,” Ewen said. “I will also miss club events like Artist Anonymous paint nights, May Day AirBand, MAC on the Mall and Bingo Night!”

Both Ewen and Collins noted that Manchester has had a positive effect on them professionally and spiritually. “Manchester University has made me grow in all aspects of my life,” Ewen said. “I am leaving as a completely different person than the girl who came here in 2016”.

Lexi Collins agrees. “Being at Manchester has matured me,” Collins said. “It has opened my eyes and educated me more on the real world and different people, thinking, education and diversities. I loved being a student athlete here and that has given me lifelong friendships and and relationships. I have learned and gained so much from the people around me during my time at Manchester.”

For Senior Jamie Soposky, her time at Manchester has made an extremely important, life-changing impact on her views of failure and success. “As a science major, I have had to learn how to deal with failure,” Soposky said. “Being okay with failing is one of the most important lessons you can learn in life. Manchester changed the narrative of failure for me from ‘not good enough, give up’ to ‘let’s learn and work through this experience so we can improve’ and I am forever grateful for that.”

Collins, Ewen and Soposky are preparing to graduate as part of Manchester’s Class of 2021 with mixed feelings of eagerness and reserve for what their futures hold. “I am extremely excited to graduate, but I am nervous to be leaving my home for the past four years,” Soposky said. “I have grown in tremendous ways at Manchester. I am so happy I could call Manchester my home for the past four years! Go Spartans!”.