President’s Corner: A Range of Options For Commencement
I believe our recent announcement of virtual and in-person commencement ceremonies for May is the best piece of news we've had at Old Dominion so far this year, and I'm sure many of you agree.
These will be our first face-to-face graduation ceremonies in a year and a half. Both our graduates of 2020 and 2021 will be able to celebrate their accomplishments in the way they desire, and we'll be able to celebrate our graduates - and also show our gratitude and appreciation that they perceived in the face of obstacles none of us had imagined would arise.
Although our in-person ceremonies will be on Kornblau Field in S.B. Ballard Stadium instead of Chartway Arena, the usual venue, they will include many features of graduation that students find the most meaningful - including hearing their names read aloud and walking across the stage. For the first time, graduates will subsequently receive a complementary photograph of themselves walking across the stage.
They also will be able to cross the university seal - a long-cherished Old Dominion ritual - but in a totally different fashion, in keeping with COVID-19 protocols. As Old Dominion has for more than a year, we will follow all safety guidelines, including crowd capacity and distance between attendees, as prescribed by the commonwealth and health authorities.
We have assembled a 50-member team, led by Austin Agho, Don Stansberry, Karen Meier and Mike Fryling, to plan the ceremonies. I want to thank them for their attention to detail and for their insistence on listening to what students want and trying to provide a fulfilling experience, despite the constraints we are living under.
So, for instance, we decided to hold virtual ceremonies on Wednesday, May 5, to ensure that those who cannot return to campus will be able to celebrate their achievements.
Our team also heard repeatedly from 2020 graduates that they did not want to be mixed with the Class of 2021 for graduation. Therefore, we have scheduled separate in-person ceremonies so that graduates can share the moment with their classmates.
These graduation ceremonies will be my last as president of ODU. Attending commencement has been one of the best fringe benefits of my job, and I, like you, missed having them last year. Seeing the gleam in the graduates' eyes and the joy on the faces of their relatives and friends will lift anybody's spirits. It also reaffirms the value of our mission.
Please continue to check the commencement website.
I look forward to seeing you there next month as we celebrate a crowning moment for thousands of Monarchs.