July 15, 2024

Pandemic-Era Commencement Holds A Number of Highlights

Jasmine Williams ’20 models her decorated mortarboard. Members of the Class of 2020 waited a year for their Commencement.

Jasmine Williams ’20 models her decorated mortarboard. Members of the Class of 2020 waited a year for their Commencement.

What a year … and 52 days! But who’s counting?

With University of Mary Washington Commencement ceremonies for the Classes of 2020 and 2021 taking place today through Sunday, we are.

When UMW paused in-person learning last spring, amid a growing pandemic, campus life as we knew it was thrown off kilter. Amid the disruption, Class of 2020 graduation plans were rescheduled, then put on hold. A robust MMDC (monitor, mask, distance and clean) campaign – and a gymnastics routine of face-to-face and virtual learning – brought students back to campus in the fall. But it’s been a long road.

Racial unrest and political angst swept the nation. Weekly emails from UMW’s “COVID-19 Implementation Team” told of fast-changing news: disease progression, vaccine availability and those hard-to-pin-down Commencement plans.

Now, with a web of socially distanced, guideline-adherent measures in place, Mary Washington presents the capstone activity for two extraordinary classes. Bring on the bagpipes, brightly colored honor cords, and decorated caps … and masks!

With everything else that’s been turned on its head, we’re flipping the number ’21, too. Here – in numerical order – are 12 things to know about one unconventional Commencement, broken into nine parts. Read more.