Photo by Elizabeth O'Guin
By Regina Baker, Staff Writer-
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has announced the commencement for the graduating class of Fall 2020, as virtual.
While Covid-19 has changed the way students and faculty have attended the university this year, the semester has maintained steady despite the trials the pandemic brought to the school. However, changes have been implemented to secure the health of students on campus.
Recently, the executive board announced that the commencement ceremony will continue as virtual on Dec. 12. This comes after the first virtual commencement event was held in Aug. 2020 for May and Aug. graduates. The school chose this option for safety to limit exposure of Covid-19, by avoiding the large masses of people who would attend.
According to an update from Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Dr. Yancy Freeman, the decision was made for the well-being of all involved.
“We know this decision is disappointing to you. We are also disappointed. The decision was a difficult one, but we are confident it is in the best interest of the campus community,” he stated.
In a recent update, UTC’s Chancellor, Dr. Steven Angle expressed his thoughts towards the usual in-person graduating ceremonies of before.
“The energy and joy of commencement is the highlight of every semester for me” he shared.
Universities all over the country have either postponed their ceremonies to later dates or have cancelled them all together. While this may be an option; it is not always the best for graduating students. By postponing graduations or holding off diplomas, students are limited on opportunities when applying for jobs.
Senior, Khristen Smith-Gunnell who graduated in Aug. 2020, shared how commencement affected potential employment for her.
“I have a job in my field now but the position I really wanted had to wait due to the longevity of the commencement,” she stated. “I also didn’t actually get to feel the experience of graduating because I could not celebrate with my family or friends.”
UTC faculty is working hard to give students the best and safest option possible with the current situation at hand. To view the chancellor’s update regarding this decision, please visit https://blog.utc.edu/chancellor/newsletters/chancellors-update-93/