By: Ravyn Malvino
After months of contemplation, the Adelphi administration has finally made a decision regarding this year's Commencement ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021. Executive leadership has approved a hybrid plan for commencement, combining an optional in-person “Grad Walk” with virtual versions of traditional commencement ceremonies and the conferral of academic degrees.
Students seem relieved to have an answer. “I have made peace with the version of graduation we’re having now,” said senior Samantha Napoli. “I feel closure because I was constantly thinking about it and holding out hope that things would be closer to normal by now.”
A survey was conducted earlier this year to hear from students what they wanted and felt comfortable with for this year’s Commencement.
“What we heard is that our students want to celebrate in a meaningful and familiar way with loved ones and their Adelphi community,” said members of Adelphi’s Commencement Committee. “We also heard from health experts and New York state that, despite progress, it is still not safe or approved to have the kind of large gathering we traditionally hold for Commencement.”
Senior Tina Tudisco said, “When stating my preferences on the Commencement survey, I indicated that I would have preferred smaller in-person graduation ceremonies by school or major, so I can’t say that I’m thrilled about having my graduation on Zoom. But I understand that it’s a good option to keep everyone as safe as possible and still honor the graduates.”
Many students have expressed that walking across the stage at Commencement was important to them. The Adelphi Grad Walk will allow students the opportunity to walk across a decorated Commencement-style stage. The Grad Walk will take place by appointment from April 26-29 during Senior Week, as well as from May 20-22 in the Ruth S. Harley University Center’s Thomas Dixon Lovely Ballroom. Appointments will be every 15 minutes.
Graduates will be allowed to have two guests attend their scheduled Grad Walk. All individuals on campus must comply with Adelphi's health and safety protocols by maintaining social distance, wearing a mask and completing the health screening on the AU2GO app or on a provided paper copy.
Additionally, there will be a professional photographer in attendance to capture the moment and each Grad Walk participant will be given a free photo.
“I appreciate that we’re going to have the photo opportunity as well,” said Tudisco. “It’s not the real thing, but at least I’ll get a nice picture in my cap and gown.”
Students have the option to wear their cap and gown, but do not have to. Each student will also receive a cap and tassel from the university, as well as a diploma cover at Grad Walk. Graduates will be allowed to remove their mask when being photographed onstage. Students who already purchased their cap and tassel can be reimbursed by contacting the Adelphi bookstore.
Adelphi schools and colleges will also each hold virtual Commencement ceremonies to recognize graduates and officially confer degrees. These virtual ceremonies will air Monday, May 24 for the Class of 2021 and Tuesday, May 25 for the Class of 2020. The ceremonies will also be recorded and posted online for the Adelphi community to view and share. Plans for in-person 2020 and 2021 Doctoral Hooding ceremonies, also allowing two guests for each candidate are being worked out and will soon be announced.
“My parents were really disappointed because they were hoping that having a year to think about graduation would lead to it being in person with them there and safe,” said Napoli.
Despite some letdown about not having a traditional, in-person graduation, she’s looking at the situation from a positive perspective. “I feel like in this version of graduation, we will get to celebrate how we like,” Napoli said. “My parents, grandparents, aunt and cousins will be there for my broadcasted graduation when they are all fully vaccinated. The Grad Walk isn’t ideal, but it gives us an opportunity to commemorate the moment of us graduating with our families on stage.”
For additional specific school, college or department activities and graduation celebrations, stay tuned for communications from those areas.
All Class of 2020 and 2021 graduates are also invited to attend a future in-person Commencement ceremony when it is safe to host one.
“I am in a unique position among my peers since I am definitely attending Adelphi for my graduate degree as part of the STEP program, so I know I'll be having another graduation next year, which has lifted my spirits a bit in reaction to not having one this year,” said Tudisco. “I'm hopeful, especially since I was just vaccinated and I know many of my peers who are as well, that we’ll be able to have a fully in-person graduation next year.”
Candidates for 2021 graduation should review required steps and deadlines necessary to formally graduate.