NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. (WYTV) – Back in May, it seemed all but certain that college graduations were only going to be virtual, but one college is giving their Class of 2020 a chance to have some sense of normalcy.
Graduates of Westminster College and their families sat under tents during a rain-filled Saturday morning. They were able to celebrate an in-person graduation.
“It was very important for our graduates to be able to come back to campus because with the pandemic, they weren’t able to see each other or say goodbye to faculty. So, it was very important too that they come to us,” said Vice President of Academic Affairs Jamie McMinn.
Normally, the college would have about 1,000 people at graduation, but with Governor Tom Wolf’s orders, they split it up into four ceremonies. They even spread people apart and enforced masks.
“They’re spending a lot of time congregating, safely, with each other, just to see friends, find out how they’re doing, getting updates and just say goodbye,” McMinn said.
Even though this was some sense of normalcy, classmate Samantha Winter still spoke about the challenges the Class of 2020 faced.
“These past few months have been confusing, dark and anxious. We, the Class of 2020, have made sacrifices, shed tears and wondered how we will be able to move past all this fear,” she said.
Noting how the virus has placed the world under trying times.
But even during a global pandemic, the college wanted everyone to keep their spirits high.
“Neither the two-day polar vortex shutdown in the spring of 2019 or the three-month pandemic pivot to virtual learning has prevented you from achieving your goals,” Westminster College President Kathy Brittain Richardson said to the students.
“In such trying times, it can be easy to succumb to the darkness and forget how to hope. Unfortunately, for this tiny virus, that is not the Westminster way,” Winter said.