USM to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for 2020, 2021 graduates

USM to hold in-person commencement ceremonies for 2020, 2021 graduates

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Before COVID-19, having an in-person graduation was never questioned. But Zoom commencements took over in May 2020.

But the University of Southern Mississippi is excited to announce its in-person graduation for spring 2021.

“We’re so excited, the University of Southern Mississippi, to once again host an in-person graduation for our spring 2021 graduates,” said Dr. Amy Chasteen, executive vice provost for Academic Affairs.

Chasteen also mentioned how Southern Miss figured out a way to expand it to the class of 2020, since they were not allowed to walk last year.

“We’re very excited to expand our offerings for graduation for 2021 so we can invite all of those former students who graduated in the prior year and were unable to celebrate in the traditional way with their families,” Chasteen said.

They want each class to feel special, so they have come up with a set-up that will allow them to be distinguished.

“Students are going to be able to participate in smaller groups, and we’re going to arrange them together on the floor so that they are sitting with their original graduating class,” Chasteen said.

Jourdan Green is a senior graduating with a major in psychology and a minor in political science. She has been very active on campus, participating in the Student Government Association and being the president of the Iota Kappa Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. She says that the year has been hard on her.

“COVID is really hard to deal with, being in the house all the time is hard to deal with, not being with your friends and feeling like the work you are doing is not as effective because you aren’t around people and you aren’t able to interact with others,” Green said.

Green was very concerned that all of her hard work would not be celebrated traditionally. When she and her mom learned that her commencement would be in-person, they were very excited.

“When I found out that the ceremony was going to be in-person, I was truly very excited,” Green said. “My mom and I are extremely close, so she was very excited to celebrate my accomplishments in person and actually physically see me walk physically walk across the stage.”

The USM commencement will be spread out over the course of several days. The schedule is below:

  • Monday, May 3, at 7 p.m. – Undergraduates in the College of Nursing and Health Professions
  • Tuesday, May 4, at 7 p.m. – Undergraduates in the College of Education and Human Sciences
  • Wednesday, May 5, at 7 p.m. – All Graduate Students
  • Thursday, May 6, at 7 p.m. – Undergraduates in the College of Business and Economic Development
  • Friday, May 7, at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. – Undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences

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