Campus reacts to the possibility of in-person commencement

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A decision on the class of 2021 commencement ceremony will be made in the next few weeks

Marquette university has announced that it is exploring options for an in-person commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 23.  The announcement came in a March 11 Marquette Today. 

“I think Marquette should honor their seniors one last time, and at the least should be able to offer an in-person commencement for those who would want to attend,” Yianni Wiechering, a senior in the College of Business Administration, said.

Marquette had previously announced Jan. 28 that the class of 2021 commencement ceremony would be virtual. However, since then, there have been changes in the city of Milwaukee that open the door for the possibility of an in-person commencement.

This comes after fiserv forum allowed a limited number of fans on National Marquette Day to watch Marquette’s game against Xavier.

“Recent agreements by the City of Milwaukee to allow larger in-person gatherings at local venues give us hope that there is a path forward to honor our students with an in-person commencement event,” Provost Kimo Ah Yun, said in a March 11 news release.

The university is working with medical health experts and monitoring the situation as it moves forward with planning a commencement ceremony. In addition, the university is looking for outdoor spaces with the potential of hosting the senior class.

“I’m sure Marquette is capable of hosting commencement so that graduating students can still be safe, especially with the increasing number of students getting vaccinated,” Wiechering said.

Even with more students receiving the vaccine, the university has said that “we still have a lot of work to do” to ensure an in-person commencement ceremony.

“I would say that it’d be best to be in person just to honor all the work put in. It’s such a milestone and it would undermine things if it was just online,” Morgan Greiber, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

Seniors were asked to fill out a form by March 19 to gauge student interest about the possibility of an in-person commencement. The new possibility of an in-person commencement comes after the university announced its plans for an in-person experience for the Fall 2021 semester.

“As a senior, I want to be able to celebrate my four years spent at Marquette by graduating alongside my classmates, not through a screen,” Wiechering said.

Last year, the class of 2020 did not have an in person commencement ceremony only. But this year, he university has expressed that it wants to celebrate the graduating seniors in a way “that is befitting such an occasion.”

Milwaukee’s other large university, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has already announced its plans for a completely virtual ceremony on May 16.

The current senior class is about 2,000 students. Final plans for the class of 2021 commencement ceremony are to be announced in the next few weeks.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at megan.woolard@marquette.edu