Creighton intends to host in-person commencement and professional hooding ceremonies May 13-15, according to an email from Creighton Communications on Monday.
The ceremonies will be livestreamed for family and friends to watch virtually, but students must attend in person to have their name read, according to Tricia Sharrar, vice provost for academic administration and operations.
“Our goal is really to be able to honor our students with an in-person celebration,” Sharrar said, “and so we’ll continue to keep our campus community and our graduates updated on that.”
CU is looking at both on-campus and off-campus locations for the ceremonies, and Sharrar said they could “potentially” be outdoors.
“Life could change in two months, and that was the hard part about making an announcement early,” Sharrar said.
Though some details are still being finalized, some graduating students have already reached out to friends and family, asking them to reserve the dates.
Graduates will each get up to two tickets for guests, and both participants and guests will be required to wear a face covering, maintain social distancing and practice good hand hygiene.
Students graduating in May 2021 had until Feb. 15 to apply for their degree and say whether or not they would attend in-person graduation.
August and December degree candidates have until March 15 to decide if they will participate.
“I think [graduation’s] just something you don’t ever want to look back at and say you missed out on,” said Lukmaan Sattar, a senior in the Heider College of Business. “Plus, my entire family is vaccinated, fortunately.”
Sattar said he has family from all over the world planning to visit, though they might not be able to attend the ceremony.
“I think the overall celebration with my family and friends is definitely something I’m looking forward to the most,” Sattar said.
Other students are looking forward to seeing their classmates as much as they are their family.
“If I go, I would love to be able to see my peers again,” said Deanna Mathews, who is graduating from the School of Law. “I haven’t been to many in-person classes, so it would be nice to see everyone again.”
Mathews was surprised when the university announced an in-person commencement.
“I’m concerned about social distancing. I expect everyone will be wearing masks, but in some areas social distancing just won’t be possible,” Mathews said.
She said she has not decided whether or not she will attend.
“Since I graduated from Creighton from undergrad already, it doesn’t feel necessary for me. I was able to have all my family come for that graduation, and it feels like that was only a year ago,” Mathews said.
Another law student, Leonardo Daniel Garingan, said he was “happy and relieved” to hear that the ceremony would be in person.
“I would like to hear my name read out loud and to have my family watch me as I get my diploma,” Garingan said.
But his family has been unable to make travel arrangements so far because specific details have not been shared.
“I would love the experience to celebrate the last three years,” he said.
Evyn Perry, who is graduating from the School of Law, said he was thrilled that CU is holding in-person graduation but “annoyed that it took this long and even more annoyed that there are restrictions.”
Others have mixed feelings about the in-person ceremony.
“When I first heard that commencement would be in person, my immediate response was relief [and] excitement, but then I began thinking about the logistics and felt a bit of anxiety,” said Dani Dross, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences.
Sharrar said the university is paying attention to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for large events.
“I am planning to attend the ceremony. I am vaccinated and have already had COVID-19 once, so I am not extremely concerned for myself,” Dross said. “I do still worry about spreading the virus to someone else.”
Dross described graduation as the “culmination” of her college experience, something she doesn’t want to miss.