The graduating class of 2020 is finishing their time at USD while not actually being on campus. Due to COVID-19, classes were moved online for the rest of the semester and the commencement ceremony was postponed.
On April 28, USD officially announced the ceremony would be held on Oct. 24, 2020.
The future date for graduation, however, is subject to change as the COVID-19 situation continues to develop.
In an email sent to graduates, President Shelia Gestring said she is proud of the resilience shown by this year’s graduating class.
“There is so much to look forward to as you close this chapter and prepare for the journey ahead and we are excited to celebrate you and your accomplishments on campus this fall,” Gestring said. “We will continue to follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as we make decisions that prioritize the health and safety of the Coyote community.”
Macy Halverson, a senior business administration major, said she thinks an online ceremony might be more beneficial now because the fall graduates might not be able to return to Vermillion.
“I can’t imagine how difficult it has been making some of the decisions they’ve had to make, so I applaud the administration for their hard work,” Halverson said in an email interview with The Volante. “I think USD has done as good of a job a university could have done given the circumstances.”
While this year’s seniors are not walking across the stage, they are still preparing for the workforce and life beyond USD.
Emilee Shostrom, a senior simultaneously earning her BBA and MBA, is looking to begin a career in either supply chain or the analytics field. Due to the COVID-19 situation, some jobs she applied for are no longer available.
“It is making it harder for me to plan ahead,” Shostrom said in an email interview with The Volante.
While Shostrom said she was disappointed with the end of her college career, she said going through a pandemic will only make her and the rest of the class of 2020 more prepared for life beyond USD.
“We are eager to begin our lives outside of college, and this pandemic is going to make us stronger and more prepared for the world,” Shostrom said. “Our class doesn’t give up easily, so this goes to show how resilient we are.”
With their untraditional end, Halverson said she thinks the class of 2020 will be remembered as the “quarantine class.”
Shostrom said her time at USD was amazing and said she hopes the class of 2020 is remembered for their strength.
“(I hope we are remembered for) rising up during this time and staying strong,” Shostrom said. “I hope in the future people will recognize a class of 2020 student and know what we had to go through and respect us for it.”
The official plan for USD’s graduation commencement ceremony is still unannounced. Shostrom said she hopes USD announces the official plan soon.
“I will miss (USD),” Shostrom said. “Just because we didn’t have a ceremony and things ended in such a weird way doesn’t mean we won’t get to experience other fun things. We have our memories of our time here, so we just need to focus on the positives during this time.”