PCC will be postponing the 2020 commencement ceremony until spring 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as announced through an email on March 30.
The decision was made by PCC’s executive team with the support of the Academic Senate President, Matthew Henes.
It follows another recent decision to continue remote instruction for the rest of the spring semester, according to PCC Superintendent/President Erika Endrijonas.
The school is still in discussion as to whether the 2020 commencement ceremony will be held together or separate from the 2021 ceremony.
“What we were thinking is that we would do the 2021 commencement on Friday evening like we usually would, and the 2020 commencement the next day,” Endrijonas said. “However, if it turns out that we don’t have that many people who want to come back and do the commencement for 2020, it’s also possible that we could just do one big ceremony on Friday.”
The school will keep in touch with students graduating spring 2020, and will continue to provide them with information regarding commencement.
“So far, I will not come back for the commencement,” said neurobiology student Quinn Agatep. “The graduation ceremony is fun, but waiting a year is kind of long.”
Agatep is one of the students who are graduating this Spring. He was looking forward to the 2020 commencement, and felt disappointed when he heard about the postponement.
“The commencement was something I was looking forward to as a roadmap to my career,” said Agatep. “I feel like an alternative could at least be an online commencement, even though it isn’t in person.”
Endrijonas is aware of the possibility that students may not return to participate in commencement. However, she takes into account those who still wish to return to campus and take part in the ceremony.
“I think for some students, it is really important, and I think they would come,” said Endrijonas. “I don’t think everyone will come, which is why I don’t think we’ll need as large of a ceremony for the 2020 graduates, but I also don’t want to rob them of that.”
Erik Sanchez is a PCC student studying television, film, and media. He is considering coming back to PCC for the postponed commencement ceremony.
“I really want to stay connected to the school, so I feel like even though I’m moving out to a four-year university, I do want to keep in contact with friends and club members and faculties,” Sanchez explained. “Especially because in Television and Film, networking is such a major component that I think it is really important to keep in contact and to help other students out with maybe networking opportunities.”
While students have mixed opinions regarding the school’s decision to postpone the commencement ceremony, Endrijonas still believes that delaying commencement is a better decision than holding virtual commencement.
A commencement ceremony typically involves graduates walking across the stage and taking pictures with either the President or the Trustee. Flowers or other forms of gifts are then given to the graduates by individuals or family members they have invited. According to Endrijonas, what is important to the graduates is that they get to share the moment with the people they have invited.
“It’s very much about a celebration of people together and I don’t believe virtual graduation is in any way, shape, or form a substitute for it,” Endrijonas explained. “I know how important the graduation ceremony is to folks, that’s why I’m favoring having an in-person graduation a year from now versus a virtual one.”
To stay updated about how COVID-19 will continue to impact PCC, check here.
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