MOUNT OLIVE – After only being able to hold virtual ceremonies in 2020, the University of Mount Olive is making plans for in-person May graduation.
“Our students have worked so hard and have waited so long for graduation day, and we really want them to be able to be physically present and have the opportunity to walk across the stage to receive their diploma covers,” said UMO President Dr. H. Edward Croom.
To follow current mandates by the NC Governor’s Office and to be able to safely celebrate in person, Croom noted that plans are underway to carry out three separate graduation ceremonies, one for each of the University’s schools. The commencement for the School of Agriculture and Biological Sciences and all associate’s degree graduates is being planned for Friday, April 30 at 3:30 PM. At 7 PM, The Tillman School of Business is planning to hold exercises for its graduates. The third, and final ceremony will be conducted on Saturday, May 1, at 10 AM for the School of Arts and Sciences. Each ceremony will be held in Kornegay Arena, with sanitation measures being taken between ceremonies. The University President and Vice President for Academic Affairs will deliver brief remarks at each event.
“I look forward to elbow bumping and taking socially distanced selfies with students as they cross the graduation stage,” Croom said. “Balancing safety and tradition is important as students gather for this important milestone in their lives.”
“Currently Governor’s orders indicate that no guests will be allowed in the venue, only graduates,” said Dr. Dan Sullivan, Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and Athletics. “However, we are asking each graduate to provide us with the names of two guests, in case that order changes prior to graduation.”
Each ceremony will be live-streamed, allowing friends and family to view their graduates from the comfort and safety of their homes. “There will also be a full ceremony video released the week after graduation which will include pre-recorded graduation speeches and a full program,” Sullivan added.
“We are being very cautious and we will follow CDC guidelines,” President Croom said of the 2021 commencement events. “We are just excited to be able to provide these three events so our students can experience some type of normalcy, after a year of anything but normal.”