Commencement photo
2020 graduates returned to campus on Oct. 17 to celebrate their long-awaited commencement.
Photo provided by MU

Manchester Holds In-Person Commencement for Class of 2020

Emily Ewen

After five long-awaited months, the 2020 graduates were able to celebrate on Oct. 17 at Manchester University’ in-person commencement.

The commencement for undergraduates was not a full-length event; rather it consisted of three shorter ceremonies held at Cordier Auditorium at 11, 1, and 3 PM. During each ceremony there was a limited number of graduates and guests present, with approximately 50 graduates in each section; however, each of them had to have four seats separating them. Each graduate was allowed to bring four guests, who were separated from the other families by four seats as well. A live stream link was provided so extended families and friends could watch online.

Graduates entered the Cordier lobby with their guests, checked in, and all walked into the auditorium together. At that point graduates left their guests to sit socially distanced up front, while the guests were ushered to seating near the back. Employees from Alumni Relations and other areas of the university were stationed at each checkpoint to make sure things were going smoothly and everyone was directed appropriately.

Graduates had positive reactions to their ceremony. “It went much better than I expected,” said Cameron Walton ’20. “I was impressed with how well it was done and very happy I attended it.” He also noted that the social distance and mask rules were enforced well. “The ceremony was as traditional as they could possibly make it given circumstances, which is a good thing,” he added.

Nick Rush ’20 agreed. However, he did miss one traditional part. “I wish they would have allowed us to turn our tassels as they released us,” he said, “but we were allowed an in-person ceremony and got to take a picture with President Dave.” For Rush, the pros outweighed the cons.

Sam Barnard ’20, expressed that it was so much more meaningful to him having an in-person commencement. Rush, Walton, and Barnard all said that they were excited and happy to finally see their friends again, yet somewhat disappointed because they did not get to see every graduate like they normally would because of the split-up ceremonies.

Still, these three grads agree that Manchester did well keeping things safe and giving 2020 graduates an opportunity they originally were not able to have.