EDITORIAL: MU should recognize all graduates at in-person commencement

In-person+commencement+will+be+held+at+American+Family+Park%2C+previously+Miller+Park.+

Photo by Zach Bukowski

In-person commencement will be held at American Family Park, previously Miller Park.

With the hard work put in by graduating students during their time at Marquette as well as the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic brought on this school year, it is important that graduates get the proper recognition they deserve during commencement week. 

Marquette University announced April 20 that it will be hosting in-person graduation options for graduates during the commencement weekend of May 22 and 23. 

The university will be hosting an in-person Baccalaureate Mass Saturday, May 22 at the Eckstein Commons between the Alumni Memorial Union and Schroeder Hall. There will also be overflow seating with simulcast available at the Chapel of the Holy Family and the Monaghan Ballrooms in the Alumni Memorial Union. 

After this, there will be a virtual commencement ceremony, which will include messages from University President Michael Lovell, the senior student speaker, the commencement speaker, as well as an alumni video, closing prayer and the Alma Mater. Each college and school will also have a tab on the website where each graduate can include their name, degree and photo.

Several in-person commencement ceremonies will also be held. In-person ceremonies will be held May 23 for undergraduate and graduate students will be held at American Family Field at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., respectively. Every graduate who signed up for the in-person commencement will be able to have their names read and walk across the stage to receive their diploma cover. Undergraduate and graduate students are allowed to have a maximum of two guests at the in-person ceremonies. 

The School of Dentistry and the College of Health Sciences professional programs will host separate in-person activities with livestream options available before and during commencement week as well. 

The university should be commended for providing graduates an opportunity to be formally and publicly recognized for their dedication and hard work during their time at Marquette. 

For many students and their loved ones, a commencement ceremony serves as a culminating recognition of their effort and work often over a two to four-year period and being able to share the accomplishment of graduating with others is a significant milestone. Additionally, considering the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to students’ personal and academic lives this year, receiving recognition for overcoming those challenges is especially important. 

Additionally, the university’s decision to allow for and make accommodations for students to invite two guests should also be acknowledged, as this may have required additional planning and funding. This is a great feat for the university, especially considering there was no in-person graduation held for the class of 2020 last year due to the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Despite these positive efforts, the university must ensure that all graduating students are recognized, even if they don’t decide to attend in-person commencement. 

Students who decide to participate virtually in commencement will not have their names read at the in-person ceremony and although Marquette is allowing for all students to attend the in-person ceremony, not all students may feel comfortable attending in person during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Savannah Charles, a senior in the College of Arts & Sciences, expressed concern about graduating students who choose to virtually participate in commencement not being publicly recognized at the in-person ceremony on her personal social media accounts. Charles said in an email that this information was confirmed by University Special Events.

“To clarify, students attending virtually will be ‘recognized’ by having their photo, name, and degree shared on the website under each College’s individual tab,” Charles said. “To my understanding, all students will be recognized this way.”

The Office of Marketing and Communication did not respond to requests to confirm this information.

Having your name and photo listed on a website is not the same level of recognition or experience as having your name read at a graduation ceremony. With the unprecedented and challenging circumstances this year has brought, all graduating students deserve the same respect and recognition, regardless of whether they attend in person or virtual commencement. 

For this year, Marquette should make accommodations for students who can’t or don’t feel comfortable attending in-person commencement and still read all graduating students’ names at the ceremonies, especially considering there was no in-person commencement last year. Due to the unprecedented times, Marquette should acknowledge all students graduating this year in the class of 2021. Many students may feel that having their names read over video is more rewarding than having their name only listed on Marquette’s website. 

Moreover, the university should update its commencement policies to ensure that students can be publicly recognized at future in-person ceremonies, regardless of whether they can attend or not. 

Graduating college, at the undergraduate or graduate level, is a huge accomplishment. All students should be recognized with their class and not penalized for not being able to or not feeling comfortable to attend in person. 


Editorial topics by the Marquette Wire are decided at weekly meetings between members of the executive board. The editorial is crafted with leadership by the executive opinions editor. The executive board consists of the executive director of the Wire, managing editor of the Marquette Tribune, managing editor of the Marquette Journal, general manager of MUTV, general manager of MUR and nine additional top editors across the organization.